Originally published on October 17, 2013
Kieran Normoyle, 23, an Irish design student from University of Limerick, invented a three-piece lifejacket, Hydros, that mitigates the effects of cold water shock, sea spray, hypothermia and secondary drowning.
Hydros is a finalist for the James Dyson Award, an international design award competed by
university-age design engineers for a $45,000 cash prize.
With experience as a lifeguard and Irish Army Reserve medic, Normoyle aimed at overcoming the flaws of existing life vests and other personal flotation devices (PFDs).
The three-piece lifejacket include a thermal T-shirt, flotation vest and wet jacket.
A self-heating gel pack inside the thermal T-shirt lies over the heart and major arteries to warm up the core of body, reducing cold water shock and delaying hypothermia.
The flotation vest can be activated automatically on contact with water or manually. The bladder inside with offset design can turn faced-down users upright in water, while the hood protect user's airway from sea spray.
Using wetsuit effect, the wet jacket will help retain warmth when in the water.
"The versatility of Hydros allows the user to adapt and upgrade the suit to the environment they are operating in," wrote Normoyle in an email to NBC News. "For instance, if I am going kayaking I put on the T-shirt first before I depart; when I arrive at the location, depending on the environment, cold and wet versus warm and sunny, I can choose whether I need the jacket or not."
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