Russian scientists put a defibrillator on a drone

In what looks like a potentially useful use of drone technology, Russian scientists at the Moscow Technology Institute have stuck a defibrillator on a drone so it can be remote piloted to a person in need of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

So much like an air ambulance, but — presumably — a lot cheaper.

The project is a collaboration between the Aerospace Laboratory of the Moscow Technological Institute (MTI) and Russian medical equipment company, Altomedika.

We’ve seen drone ‘air ambulance’ concepts before — such as this 2014 prototype, by a Dutch designer. Bringing such concepts to market and integrating them into existing emergency response systems, while complying with safety regulations around remote-piloted drone flights, looks to be the main challenge vs simply building drones that are technically capable of delivering a defibrillator to a person in need.

The range of the Russian drone is up to 50km, according to a spokesman, and it’s capable of carrying a 3kg payload, with the designers touting “compact dimensions” which they say make their drone “versatile in use”.

“Under control of the operator, the drone delivers defibrillator by air as soon as possible,” the team begin the project said. “The device operates both in manual and in automatic mode.”

Of course there still needs to be a human at the landing site to connect the electrodes and follow on screen and/or voice prompts so treatment can be carried out.

“The defibrillator will analyze the ECG, store data for a doctor and, if necessary, produce a series of discharges in accordance with international recommendations on cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”

The spokesman said the idea would be for drones to deploy from the nearest ambulance or Emercon station — meaning they could potentially reach a person in need quicker than an ambulance traveling at street level.

“Potential clients are The Emergencies Ministry of Russia and the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation,” said the spokesman.

He added that another possibility for commercializing the drone would be to use it as a cargo platform — presumably for deliveries. Though it’s limited to carrying 3kg in weight.

“In addition to defibrillator, it is able to deliver medicines and biomaterials in emergency situations, as well as cameras with speakerphone for medical consultation,” the spokesman added.