Startup Offroad Apps & Things was founded by two engineers on a mission. They want to help the people that work to ensure the security and health of others. That’s why they are now collaborating with the Dutch military to introduce smart wearables to war zones. We spoke to co-founder Vera Pijl.
“Back in the day, I worked at a hospital’s intensive care unit. I was touched by the passion the nurses demonstrated. Their work really was a calling to them,” Vera says. “At the same time, I felt like they were left to their own devices in so many ways. I felt inspired to improve their working conditions.”
“The alarm system in your average intensive care unit offers a great example of what I mean,” she says. “Each machine in there beeps when something, anything, is wrong. As a result, the sound of beeping is a fact of life. It goes on and on, it just never stops. It drove me absolutely crazy.”
The torturous beeping triggered her to want to improve the alarm systems that are used in intensive care units. “I could never do what these nurses do. I admire their strength and patience. It is invaluable. That’s why I felt motivated to try and make their lives easier,” she explains her sense of urgency.
Pioneering the use of smart wearables
Fast forward. Vera, and her partner Nils, co-founded Offroad Apps & Things and have now embarked on a collaborative effort with the Dutch military. Together, they are pioneering the use of smart wearables to help make the pre-hospital phase of caring for combat casualties on the battlefield more efficient.
“We are in the process of developing customized wearable applications that military nurses can use to monitor the wounded on the battlefield more efficiently,” Vera explains. “When there is an incident in the field, military personnel often have many circumstances to deal with all at the same time. Our goal is to relieve this situation by designing a wearable application that is fit to match their needs.”
“Collaborating with the military has been great,” Vera says. “They have such specific type of knowledge and know-how. It’s been interesting to delve into what it’s like to have to work under the circumstances of violent conflict. Sometimes it feels like we are on an anthropological field trip.”