USAF Extrication Tool

In 2010, Altair Thinklabs received a prestigious IDSA IDEA Award for the design of a new extrication tool for the United States Air Force. This cutting, lifting, and spreading tool was designed for use by rescue teams during search and rescue missions in the event of a vehicle crash. Powered by a hydraulic-assist hand pump, it enables a single user to fully operate the tool without having to remove either hand from the two handles. The design features a push-button rotating front handle, a hyperextendable rotating pump handle, a thumb-actuated open-neutral-close mode toggle, and infrared indicators highlighting actionable components under night vision.

At the same time we added all of those features, our analysis and optimization process allowed us to take away some bulk as well. The new design was 30% lighter and 15% shorter than the existing tool. This project was a great example of the Thinklabs design methodology in action!

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