The World’s Most Compact, Affordable Blood Refrigeration Unit Helps Treat Wounded Soldiers

When a soldier is injured, every second counts. But when the injury occurs in a remote location, it can be logistically difficult to get the soldier to a secure site or, depending on the type of wound, have the correct supplies to save their life. For example, a blood transfusion is a life-saving measure that has been challenging in the past, given a lack of available blood in the field stored at the right temperature. In 2018, the military tasked a pair of engineers, Bill Barg and Robert Futch, with creating a new blood refrigeration prototype. While they were experts in mechanical engineering, software engineering, and thermoregulation, they sought the advice of Monti Leija, a veteran of combat service who had hands-on experience as a special forces medic. Together they created the Autonomous Portable Refrigeration Unit (APRU), a portable blood and vaccine refrigerator. It can keep blood cool for four days and has a durable design that can withstand the G-forces after being air dropped out of a plane. Powered by standard batteries, it can also use solar power, which is critical in remote locations. From there, they formed the Tucson, Arizona-based startup Delta Development Team, hoping to make their concept a reality. 

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