Research Spotlight

Reaching Patients when Every Second Counts

Steinbeis analyzes roadside and air rescue systems

The debate surrounding a possible amendment to rescue services legislation in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has shown that emergency access to patients from the air or on the highway and the quick transportation of patients to a medical center are key factors to address. With complex medical support and procedures, the health care guidelines of medical associations stipulate tight time slots within which emergency patients have to reach centers. The Steinbeis Transfer Center for Geoinformatics was given the task of analyzing the actual accessibility of centers in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania using GIS data.

In a relatively large state like Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, major distances have to be covered between different emergency centers, the location of an emergency and a suitable hospital, so there is no guarantee that agreed time slots can be adhered to. Given this situation, the Südstadtklinikum in the south of Rostock invited Steinbeis experts to conduct a time-location analysis and examine existing emergency services data and the supply infrastructure using geo-information systems (GIS) and geo-data. This had to be plotted and illustrated for routing and availability purposes.

The experts evaluated the transportation modes used by the emergency services on the highways and in the air. Drawing on a variety of techniques and GIS tools (an “availability analysis” using OpenRouteService, OSM data, ArcMap tools and ArcGIS online), a comparison was made between geo-data and the road network in order to assess the quality of results. Using different approaches made it possible to ascertain which areas could be reached within a specific timeframe. The resulting polygons were superimposed on the boundaries of rural districts. Availability could be calculated for each pocket of inhabitants by multiplying the outlying areas by the population densities.


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Bill, Dr.-Ing. Christian Seip
Steinbeis Transfer Center Geoinformatics (Rostock)

Saskia – an app that helps with the pronunciation of sibilants

Student project on a concept to help children with speech difficulties

Lisps are common in childhood, when some children have problems with the formulation of sounds. Saskia is an interactive toy that helps with lisp therapy. Lukas Dürrbeck, a student at the Würzburg- based Steinbeis Research Center for Design and Systems, has been working with experts to develop an app that will provide an innovative approach to speech therapy.

Saskia is a snake that invites children to practice with it. The app itself is actually integrated into a soft toy which gives it a personality. This aspect of the design is an important factor as the children with the lisp then become involved in a dialogue with a “real” character who would like to help them with their speech impediment. As the child plays, it provides itself with therapy in a totally natural way.

The exercises with the snake complement regular lisp therapy. The child is taken through a series of exercises to improve listening so that the child recognizes correct pronunciation and reinforces the right lip and tongue movements. The smartphone app analyzes the frequency of signals from the microphone. The highly accurate software recognizes if an S is mispronounced, reacting with corresponding questions, answers and suggestions.

It makes sense to use smartphones for this kind of application because they are so widely available. Parents can use the software without having to pay for extra hardware, thus providing meaningful support to the work carried out by the speech therapist.

The application was developed as part of a degree project carried out by Dürrbeck at the Steinbeis Research Center for Design and Systems. With support from partners in industry and science, it can now be launched in the market.

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