The Future Of Everyone
I was thrilled to discover that the theme for One-North Festival 2019 (13-14 September), was The Future Of Everyone. Organised by A*STAR, the One-North Festival is an annual celebration of research, innovation, creativity and enterprise. This year, my DARE team had a coveted booth in this prestigious festival to teach CPR & AED skills. In addition, I was invited to speak about my experience in tech & healthcare. If you missed my talk on Saturday afternoon, here’s a synopsis:
Rallying Community Support Using Tech
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at anytime. Now, a cardiac arrest is unlike heart attack which may happen typically in elderly males who don’t take care of their hypertension, diabetes or smoking habit. In fact cardiac arrest can happen in fit young females too. Research shows that the incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Singapore is rising.
When the heart stops, it is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood to vital organs like the brain and kidneys. Hence, after mere minutes, neurological dysfunction or death can occur. Unless someone quickly keeps the oxygen-rich blood flowing by pumping the victim’s heart via CPR of course. The problem is that many bystanders do not know what to do. Even if they did they, they do not dare to help.
Therefore, my team & I came up with the DARE (Dispatcher-Assisted first REsponder) programme to teach the community the basics of CPR & AED skills. Within an hour, our team can effectively teach the emergency number, to push hard & fast and how to use an AED. What’s more, we do this for free. One of the solutions is to teach large communities through compulsory classes in school. In order to illustrate this, I discussed my Reply To Letter About Compulsory CPR Training.
How We Can Get There With Tech Solutions
However, teaching community CPR can be tricky because no matter how many people we train in person, there are so many more we haven’t. Sometimes people are unwilling to learn when they think they’ll never use these skills. Therefore we turned to tech for the solutions. One of them is an app called the myResponder app which encourages people trained in CPR to respond to nearby cardiac arrests when they are alerted by the 995-dispatchers.
The other app is the DARE app which helps laymen to revise what they have learnt through simple cartoon tutorials & quizzes. Besides, laymen can book CPR classes at community centres via our app too. Finally, they can use the DARE app to locate their nearest AED, which can come in handy during an emergency!
Aren’t Our Kids The Future Of Everyone?
I ended my talk by stating how we should continue to push our boundaries. Just because the Ministry of Education has agreed to teach compulsory CPR classes in Primary & Secondary Schools doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. In fact, I feel that the younger our students, more society has a chance of maturing with a future-ready population. Hence I’ve started devoting more time to volunteering at pre-schools and teaching the young ones CPR.
Somehow these innocent young children are more willing to learn CPR and use machines like AEDs. Perhaps they have not yet acquired fear of making mistakes. Neither have they learnt how to walk away from doing the right thing. I love teaching young kids.
Why Should You Care About The Future Of Everyone Else?
Innovating For A Sustainable Planet
Obviously, the future of everyone isn’t just depending on learning how to do CPR. In order to build a sustainable planet, we need to reimagine many basic things. For instance, the way we eat. There were several booths discussing the future of food. Of course, tech was worked into many solutions such as automatic speech recognition systems. Notably, many of the larger exhibits involved teaching the public about general biology. Children climbed through a tunnel dressed as the alimentary canal, while others discovered the enormous balloon structure that was the respiratory system. It’s interesting how in order to build advanced technological solutions for the future, one must first understand the basics of the human body and its needs.
Similarly, technology merely provides smart solutions to existing basic problems. In my case, the DARE app may be cool but it also teaches the most basic resuscitative skill. Learning how to do CPR or use an AED are skills you will never use on yourself. However, it might make a difference to the future of someone else. Why should you? Well, you can hang any label on it: mindfulness, kindness, inspiring good… just go learn it already.