Handheld Heimlich Maneuver Apparatus to Assist a Choking Victim



About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...

The Handheld Heimlich Maneuver Apparatus to Assist a Choking Victim was created to tackle issues that may arise from attempting to administer the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts) on a choking victim. Such problems include an inability to wrap one's arms around a victim (insufficient arm length of rescuer / large size of victim / surrounding obstacles), fatigue, or inexperience (improper placement of arms), all of which complicate rescue and cause fatalities. The apparatus contains two air reservoirs for numerous thrusts, a solenoid valve for instant delivery of thrusts, lightweight materials for portability, and affordable construction for easy repairs and reproduction.

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Step 1: Materials

(2) 250 PSI Air Reservoirs

12 oz. CO2 Canister or Pump

Plastic Cutting Boards

PVC Pipe (3/4 in, 1 in.)

PVC 3/4 in. threaded cap

PVC T-Connector

Padding Material (such as foam)


Nuts and bolts

Air Solenoid Valve



Plastic Tubing

L-Brackets (8)

Step 2: Assemble Casing

Cut 2 cutting boards in equal rectangular shapes to form the top and bottom of the casing.

Cut cutting boards of equal length to that of the top portion of the casing to form the left and right sides of the casing.

Cut cutting boards of equal width to that of the top portion of the casing to form the front and back of the casing.

Make 2 equally sized holes in the front and back plates that fit the threading of the air reservoirs.

Use 2 L-Brackets per case piece as shown, drill appropriately sized holes and fit nuts and bolts.

Step 3: Inserting Air Reservoirs

Fit air reservoirs into the front and back ends of the case, such that the threaded ends jut out for screws to be fitted on.

Orient the reservoirs so that tubes can be fed through the top.

Step 4: Creating Piston and Attaching Cushion

Take a 3/4 inch PVC pipe and drill a hole the size of a small screw in the middle of the pipe.

Extend the hole down the length of the tube. The length of the hole will dictate how far the piston will jut out when used, and it will prevent the piston from falling out.

Block the end of the pipe that will be towards the inside of the apparatus. Make sure it is air tight to allow the pressurized air to quickly push the piston out.

Cut a rectangular prism shaped sponge, cushion, or other form of soft foam. Make it the width of the box so the sides are flush with the box for easy storage.

Cut a hole the diameter of the tube that reaches into the middle of the cushion. Put the piston into the hole. After making a horizontal cut on the top that reaches to the end of the piston in the cushion, screw on a PVC cap to keep the piston in place.

Additionally, rectangular chunks are cut out on the left and right of the foam cushion to allow the air reservoirs' screws to sit snug against it.

A 1 in. pipe will be used to house the piston. Place it in the center of the casing. Secure it in place with metal brackets screwed to the bottom of the case. Drill a hole at the piston end. Place the piston inside the housing tube. Place a screw where the hole was drilled. This will ensure that the piston can move back and forth without sliding out.

Step 5: Connecting Tubes to Solenoid Valve

Attach the plastic tubes to the ends of the air reservoirs. Connect these tubes to a T-connector, securing the joined tubes with metal brackets if necessary.

The tube connected to the piston housing will be directly connected to the solenoid valve. The other end of the solenoid valve will be connected to the T-connector.

Connect the solenoid valve's wires to a button and a 9 Volt battery. The push-switch button, when in it's pressed down state, will direct power from the battery to the solenoid valve, keeping it open. It will close when it is pressed again.

After drilling a hole the size of the button, place it in the top of the casing for easy access.

Screw in all the metal brackets for the casing together. The device should now be operable. See video for functionality.



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