Hannah Duarte

Hannah is a 4th year product design student from South Africa living in Co. Dublin. From this degree Hannah has acquired many different skills such as in communications, teamwork, problem solving, design testing and manufacturing. She is a team player, passionate about helping people and creating products that truly help. She is capable of seeing the bigger picture even when caught up in the minutiae. A creative individual with a very diverse background and degree, capable of offering different and innovative problem-solving solutions. She is someone who can offer out the box thinking and a different perspective.

The Tula Collar

The Tula collar is a conformable, easily adjustable user-friendly cervical collar designed to be placed correctly every time.

The goal of this product is to reduce the prevalence of death and disability found in patients involved in car accidents presenting cervical spine injuries where a cervical collar was placed, and secondary issues occurred. Cervical collars on the market currently, even though highly adjustable, are not incredibly conformable or intuitive to place. The Tula collar aims at tackling these design issues with the overall objective of reducing death and disability related to these medical devices.

Cervical collars are essential in a prehospital setting, being at the forefront of state-of-the-art emergency care. Even though cervical collars are an important and common device there is a growing body of evidence against the use of these emergency devices due to the issues that surround them.

The Tula collar offers a superior form of cervical stabilisation and immobilisation when compared to its competitors. The product does this due to its unique design features.

Conformability. The Tula collar is incredibly conformable and comfortable due to its material and adjustment features. The regions of the collar that would be in contact with delicate areas of the patient’s body are lined with gel memory foam. This foam not only moulds to the individual shape of the patients but due to the gel any heat absorbed is wicked away. This added benefit allows for a cooling sensation. Adjustment features are comprised of sliding mechanism for easy adjustment and fine tuning of size.

Alignment lines. One of the main unique selling points of the Tula collar is that placement is correct every time. This is achieved by the clearly colour coded alignment lines drawn on the collar that instruct placement in correct positioning. The user will know straight away if alignment is incorrect as the lines would not match up on different parts of the collar. Due to the clear colour coding and working. Correct alignment is achieved effortlessly even in high pressure situations.

The Tula collar provided an effective design solution for the development of complications related to current cervical collars allowing efficient, correct, and easy application of the device. Through frequent engagements with an expert in the field of emergency trauma it was possible to produce a device that could not only met the needs of the patients but the needs of the medical professional too.

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