In times of emergency, we rely solely on human action, men or women driving ambulances through winding traffic in the hopes of tending to their patients before it’s too late. Constantly developing technology has allowed such emergency procedures to improve, and now drones are being used to transport defibrillators to people stricken by cardiac arrest.
Researchers tested the idea and found drones arrived at the scene of 18 cardiac arrests within about 5 minutes of launch. That was almost 17 minutes faster on average than ambulances – a big deal for a condition where minutes mean life or death.
The versatile drone, used primarily in capturing live videos, surveying dangerous areas, and monitoring wildlife, is now expanding its areas of expertise.
Drones are increasingly being tested or used in a variety of settings, including to deliver retail goods to consumers in remote areas, search for lost hikers and help police monitor traffic or crowds. Using them to speed medical care seemed like a logical next step.
The researchers used a small heart defibrillator weighing less than two pounds, featuring an electronic voice that gives instructions on how to use the device.
Drones are among a myriad of new machines with a great potential for saving lives. Preliminary testing of drone defibrillators is currently taking place in the Northwestern University in Chicago.