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Ocean Survivor

Core°: A unique approach to mitigate the effects of hypothermia


Kieran Normoyle - Managing Director, Ocean Survivor

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Who's this?

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What is your idea?

We have developed Core°, a wearable personal protection system to transfer heat to the body’s core and vital organs and mitigate the effects of hypothermia in survival situations.

What problem are you solving and what is innovative about your approach?

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. 20 to 30 minutes of exposure in a cold water environment can cause the body’s core temperature to drop below 35 degrees Celsius, compromising the body’s ability to function.

A lifejacket keeps a person afloat but does not reduce heat loss. Existing approaches to mitigating the effects of hypothermia include layering levels of clothing and using the wet/dry suit effects to reduce heat loss.

Our innovation is a wearable system that generates and transfers heat to the body core, replenishing heat lost to the environment and maintaining the body’s core temperature from falling to dangerous levels.

The technology will delay the onset of hypothermia and potentially increase survival in cold-environment emergencies.


What’s the backstory here and how did you get involved?

I trained as a lifeguard and I have treated people for the effects of hypothermia. While studying product design at the University of Limerick I designed a life-jacket system that mitigated against cold water shock, hypothermia and sea spray, while promoting mental well-being in a survival situation.

The design was shortlisted among the top 20 global finalists in the world for the 2013 James Dyson Award. While working in industry I carried out a feasibility study and competitive start funding to commercialise my design.

With the support of Enterprise Ireland I founded Ocean Survivor to further develop, validate and commercialise the potentially life-saving technology.

How is this idea commercially attractive?

Our innovation has the potential to protect against hypothermia in a survival situation where a person is exposed to cold water, so we anticipate customers in industries such as oil and gas, offshore renewable energy, marine and defence and the leisure sector.

We have built and trialled working prototypes of the wearable system. Our initial market will be the oil and gas industry, and from there we plan to expand into defence and leisure applications.

What are you looking for at the Big Ideas event?

We want to spread the word about our technology and we are seeking contacts and investment to scale the business internationally.

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