This Defibrillator Drone Could Be The Robot That Saves Your Life
In a medical emergency, you need a medic who can get on the scene fast, who won't panic, and who has all the right tools and knows how to use them. Or better yet, who is all the right tools. That's right: a team of Russian scientists has come up with a flying drone that doubles as a defibrillator, meaning medical help can take a path that's as short as the crow — or the robot — flies.
Software Patch Adams
Created in collaboration between the Moscow Technology Institute and the Russian company Altomedika, the AltDef flying defibrillator drone is designed to come to your rescue when you need it most. It's got a range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), making it ideal for crowded urban environments where ambulances could get stuck in traffic. Additionally, it can carry about 3 kilograms (6.5 pounds) in on top of its defibrillator payload, meaning future iterations could be stocked with medicine and other supplies as well. But how does it actually work?
Once it arrives on the scene, AltDef still needs a pair of human hands to actually operate the defibrillator. But that doesn't mean the patient needs to wait for a doctor to arrive. Instead, AltDef will helpfully instruct any willing bystander (presumably the person who actually called the hospital) in how to use the device. It analyzes the patient's EKG to determine what sort of discharges are needed, and stores all of the data it collects for the hospital. In other words, it does everything it can to bring you back to consciousness, then arms your doctor with everything they need to know about your case.
Beyond Fixing Broken Hearts
AltDef isn't the only medical drone in the game — in fact, it's not even the only defibrillator with a mind of its own. But AI companies have devised a plethora of other medical technologies besides those that get your heart pumping again. In 2016, a company called Zipline signed a contract to deliver blood donations and other medical supplies to Rwanda via drone-based parachute drops, and in 2017, a pair of Swiss hospitals began using drones to ferry lab samples back and forth. It's clear that robots are only going to play a bigger role in medicine as time goes on, so remember: that's Dr. Skynet to you.