Each year, around 60,000 people have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK. Less than ten per cent of them survive, but performing CPR can double their chances. This was the motivation behind Lifesaver, a free app created by UNIT9 and the UK Resuscitation Council that uses interactive gameplay and live action footage to teach users the dos and don’ts of conducting CPR.
The app begins with one of three short videos, in which a character, engaged in an everyday activity, suddenly collapses. Users assume the role of someone walking past and are forced to make immediate decisions on whether to help and what to do next. The immersive experience lasts between eight and 12 minutes, and users must perform each stage of CPR, from tilting their patient’s head by dragging or swiping, to shaking their iPad 30 times to get their heart started. A voiceover advises users throughout, and they are also faced with a series of multiple choice questions. At the end, users are given a score that they can share online.
UNIT9’s Martin Percy came up with the idea for Lifesaver after attending a first aid training course. He contacted the UK Resuscitation Council, which sets the guidelines on CPR training, and asked them to help fund and produce it. “Myself and a colleague met with Martin and the team frequently and were there for filming to ensure it was realistic,” says Andrew Lockey, an A&E consultant and honorary secretary at the Resuscitation Council. After its release, the UK Resuscitation Council gave a copy of the app to every school in the country. It’s been downloaded more than 80,000 times, and Percy hopes it will help equip both children and adults with the knowledge to potentially save a life.