We recently wrote about the aeroSee Project, which is harnessing drones to improve search and rescue missions. The devices are now proving useful in another life-saving scenario – the Defikopter is a drone that can deliver defibrillators to heart attack victims much quicker than emergency responders.
Conceived by Germany-based nonprofit Definetz, the system adapts flying robots developed by Height-Tech, which can carry defibrillators to any location given its GPS co-ordinates. Although the system is still in the early stages of development, the team hope to develop a smartphone app that those with heart problems, or their family, can download. If a cardiac arrest occurs, emergency services can be immediately alerted and a drone can fly defibrillators to the scene at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour. This frees emergency responders from having to carry equipment with them en route, potentially reducing their response times. If qualified personnel are on hand, the defibrillators can be used before emergency services can even get there.
Although there may be drawbacks to such a system – Die Glocke newspaper notes that German law requires drones to be manually controlled by responders who may be more useful on the ground, for example – there is potential here for utilizing emerging drone technology for life saving tasks. Are there other medical applications for drones – perhaps for delivering equipment or medicines to those in rural areas, or patients who can’t be moved?