Penn Med sponsors contest to increase awareness of AEDs

Automated External Defibrillators can save the life of someone suffering cardiac arrest

· February 20, 2014, 5:56 pm   ·  Updated February 21, 2014, 1:02 am

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A picture is worth a thousand words - but some pictures are worth more than others.

A team of researchers at Penn Medicine is soliciting images that could save lives through the Defibrillator Design Challenge. The challenge is a nationwide contest to increase awareness about Automated External Defibrillators.

“The idea is that some submissions will be very design based and eye-catching, while others will be very educational and effective about promoting a message about what AEDs are, what they can do and how they are really life saving,” Defibrillator Design Challenge Director Raina Merchant said. Merchant is an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn.

AEDs are devices used to shock the heart when a person undergoes sudden cardiac arrest. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, even those with no training can effectively use an AED in emergency situations. AEDs provide spoken instructions regarding if and when to administer shocks to a victim.

“The idea is that there may be 10 designs that emerge, which could in the future be installed in public locations throughout the city, in different buildings,” Merchant said. “There may be a universal sign or symbol that emerges from this process, but really we are at phase one of generating designs that look and feel very different.”

An inaugural design has been created and is currently on display in 30th Street Station. Four red chairs on wheels, in the shapes of the symbols, spell out “#aed.” Passengers in the lobby can sit on the chairs.

“30th Street was really a concept - could we design an installation around an AED that would be interesting?” Merchant said.

As of Feb. 20, 2014, there are already two winners on the contest’s website. One design, by graphic designer Benjamin Ivey , features geometrically abstracted concentric circles that radiate around the image of a red AED. The words “SAVE A LIFE” frame the AED. Its use of the complimentary colors green and red create an eye-catching image.

The other winning image so far is much simpler. The design is a photograph on a white background, and a narrative above the photograph says, “In a long hallway, a man clutches his chest ... What do you look for?”

The photo is of a hallway with red tape along the ground that ends in front of an AED. Simple black text below the photo indicates that the red tape is an AED locator strip.

There are five monetary prizes available, ranging from $100 to $1,000. Winners can also have their work featured in various public spaces across Philadelphia. The monetary awards will be given to those with the most votes, which can be earned through “shares” on Twitter and Facebook. Each share counts as a vote.

Winners may also be chosen through an expert panel of judges. “The expert panel winner will be chosen through the design that is the highest quality and the most engaging,” Merchant said .

The contest is running until April 6, 2014. Designs may take any visual form, but should incorporate an image of an AED and may be submitted to the contest website.

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