Carnegie mellon university | 4 person team | 3 weeks

The Rapid Mate is designed to fill the gap of traditional first aid kits in the context of single-day water excursions such as kayaking or rafting trips. Through conducting a ‘think aloud’ activity with two participants using a store-bought first aid kit, they observed that the included instruction booklet and disarray of items & supplies resulted in longer and messier treatments.


final prototype —

Through interviewing a professional trip guide and conducting additional secondary research, the team identified the most common injuries sustained during these single-day excursions. All these findings influenced the final product requirements: the kit must be water-tight to keep items dry easy to carry and attach to the watercraft or individual, contain clear and concise treatment instructions, and only contain items relevant to water sport injuries.

It utilizes a detachable hinge mechanism, enabling the user to access only what they need, or spread open the entire kit, like an accordion, to access all items. The Rapid Mate is an easy-to-use and intuitive first aid kit that decreases treatment time so you can get back to having fun in the water.


‘think aloud’ activity —

Sample kits were unorganized and scrambled—most items were obscured from view. The team classified the items into four injury-specific categories: sprains and strains, environmental injuries, cuts and lesions, and internal medications.

We eliminated the internal medications, with the exception of pain reliever, due to the single-day water trip use case.


[1] easy accessibility —

In order to cut down on treatment time and allow for treatment in a confined space such as a water craft, the kit is designed to open like a book to display the clearly organized items.


[2] FLEXIBLE use — 

The kit utilizes a detachable hinge, so when treating longer, more complicated injuries, the user can spread open the kit to access all items and view all available instructions.


[3] clear instructions — 

The product includes integrated instructions to decrease time taken to treat injuries. Users can easily view instructions to treat the most common injuries identified by the team during their interview with a river guide.


[4] sterile contents — 

Medical contents will remain sterile and clean while being used outdoors due to the accordion-fold design. Pockets keep the contents secure during transport and use.


typical use case & storyboarding — 

Rapid Mate is an easy-to-use and intuitive first aid kit that results in more accurate use and gets its user back to having fun in the water, due to a more efficient treatment time.