Day 195: How Formula One racing can help babies.

Every year in motor racing, a new car is built and each team spends the whole season figuring out ways to make it better. A chassis consists of about 11,000 components, the engine of 6000 and the electronics are about 8500. Every two weeks about 5000 new components are made.
That’s a lot of things that could go wrong, so how do teams control this? Peter Van Manen tells us that each race car has about 120 different sensors. Data is sent back via telemetry at such speed that, during a typical race, each car sends 750 million numbers. That’s twice as many numbers as words we speak in a lifetime.
Because they’ve spent a long time taking data and making it into knowledge we can act upon, Van Manen applies his knowledge to the case of a three year old child who goes into cardiac arrest. On analysis of the data, they could see changes in the heart about five minutes or so before the event, all undetected by normal thresholds.
They took a data system which they use every two weeks in formula one and installed it on the computers at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. They streamed data from the bedside instruments in their intensive care so that they could look at it in real time and learn from it.
Van Manen shows the TeD audience graphs of the numbers, comparing the top range data inspired by analysis of the formula one car, with the previous systems used by the hospital. The data that already exists is now displayed in a different way, to alert healthcare staff to the changing status of their patients. The hope is that this will make it easier for doctors to detect negative changes in their most vulnerable patients.


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