PneumaWatch battliefield casualty monitoring apparatus completes proof of concept trials


PneumaCare Ltd, working with the UK Ministry of Defence, has successfully trialled a mobile version of PneumaWatch™, its next generation light scanning medical monitoring device. PneumaWatch™ is a mobile version of PneumaCare’s novel non-invasive lung function monitor developed for hospitals and doctors' offices.


The PneumaWatch™ technology has been developed in a novel partnership with the Cambridge University Engineering Department and Plextek Ltd with initial funding from Cambridge Enterprise’s Discovery Fund.  ‘This collaboration between an SME, a university, and a defence contractor is exploiting the strengths of each in a collaborative endeavour model which allows us to deliver innovation effectively, efficiently and quickly’ said Gareth Roberts CEO.


PneumaCare’s trial demonstrated the great potential for PneumaWatch™ in monitoring combat and blast injury casualties during evacuation by ambulances and aircraft. ‘Maintaining lung function is critically important during evacuation and battlefield treatment of casualties’ said Dr Richard Iles, PneumaCare’s Chief Medical Officer. ‘Monitoring lung function on the move in vehicles or aircraft is difficult and often requires direct observation of the casualty by the paramedic. When there is more than one casualty this is difficult to do’ added Dr Iles.


Blast lung injury is a common complication of explosions and blasts. Acute lung injury caused by explosions near soldiers or civilians can go unnoticed initially, but develop into life threatening complications later as the results of the intense pressure of the blast on the lungs damage lung function. ‘We felt that our PneumaWatch™ concept would be valuable in the difficult period when casualties are being moved from the site of injury or initial treatment to hospital (a process that can take hours from foreign theatres)’ said Dr Ward Hills (CTO). 


The Ministry of Defence awarded PneumaCare the proof of concept research contract via the new Centre for Defence Enterprise which encourages the introductions of innovative technologies developed by small high tech companies into the defence services. The Defence Technology Innovation Centre (DTIC) and PneumaCare are now reviewing plans for developing a PneumaWatch™ prototype certified for flight and military vehicles.    


‘We are pleased that our team was able to win this contract’ said Alan Barrell (Chairman) ‘ it demonstrates how SME’s, university researchers and the Clinical expertise in our hospitals can be harnessed creatively to provide a new generation of devices to improve patient care. Casualty evacuation is difficult and anything which reduces the risk to casualties and improves their long term recovery has to be an exciting and positive prospect’.


‘We would like to build a PneumaWatch device and assess its potential to improve the monitoring and clinical care of casualties’ said Dr. Iles ‘if successful this will be a significant step forward in caring for casualties. This technology may have wider applications in every day monitoring of casualties who need to be moved in ambulances’.




Background on PneumaCare Ltd.

PneumaCare is pioneering the development of non-invasive medical monitoring devices. PneumaCare was founded by Cambridge entrepreneurs and medical professionals to harness the networks and knowledge base in Cambridge to develop new approaches to improving medical care. PneumaCare works in partnership with Addenbrookes Hospital (Cambridge) Dept Engineering Cambridge University and Plextek Ltd (Great Chesterford). Together we are driving the development of non-invasive lung function measuring and monitoring as our first products.


For more information about PneumaCare Ltd, please visit


Background on Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Addenbrookes Hospital is, one of only five comprehensive biomedical research centres in the UK undertaking world-class research, and our partnership with Cambridge University is driving our vision to become the best biomedical research campus in Europe.


Our philosophy of care explores smarter more efficient ways of caring for patients, not just to treat them.  This gives the Trust expertise, vision and diversity in a service which seeks to innovate and strives for excellence in delivering first-class healthcare.


For more information about Addenbrooke’s Hospital, please visit


Background on Dept Engineering Cambridge University

The Department of Engineering is the largest department in Cambridge and one of the leading centres of engineering in the world. The Department's aim is to address the world's most pressing challenges with science and technology by collaboration with other disciplines, institutions, companies and entrepreneurs. The Department's teaching, research and infrastructure demonstrate the value of engineering excellence by translating intellectual achievement into practical progressive action of benefit to all.


The Signal Processing and Communications Laboratory is active in many areas, including image and 3D data processing, computer vision and computer graphics, audio and music processing, statistical methodology, life sciences data, tracking and machine learning


For more information about The Dept of Engineering. Please visit:


Background on Plextek Ltd Great Chesterford Cambridge.

Plextek Ltd. is one of the largest independent electronics design consultancies in Europe. It provides innovative design of communication systems and devices and the supply of finished products for telecoms, defence, automotive, industrial, scientific and medical markets.


Plextek provides an outsourced resource of highly experienced engineering skills to a range of organisations from start-ups to multi-national conglomerates. In addition, it also provides strategic business and technology consultancy, full product design and supply, system integration and the design and development of fully custom products and systems.


For more information about Plextek Ltd. Please visit


About Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds; 


Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds is part of Cambridge Enterprise Limited and provides funding for early stage businesses that have been founded by members of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds comprises the University Challenge Fund, the University Venture Fund and the University of Cambridge Discovery Fund.  The University Challenge Fund was established in 2000 as a result of a government initiative, with start up money from the University of Cambridge, the Wellcome Trust, the Gatsby Foundation and the Office of Science & Technology.  The University Venture Fund was set up in 1995 with Funds solely from the University of Cambridge.  The University of Cambridge Discovery Fund was launched in September 2008.  All three funds are evergreen and use equity realisations to continue funding new businesses.


Cambridge Enterprise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property.  Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations.  Cambridge Enterprise provides access to angel and early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring, specialist Surgeries and other related programmes. In 2007/08 income from licensing, consultancy and equity transactions exceeded £10 million, of which £8 million represents distributions to University departments and academics



For further information please contact: 

Shirley Jamieson       

Head of Marketing

Cambridge Enterprise Limited 

Tel: 01223 760 339




Gareth Roberts    

Ward Hills




Cambridge Enterprise exists to help University of Cambridge inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society, the UK economy, the inventors and the University.

Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge