Here in Los Angeles, drones are generally associated with all things perverted and malicious. The bad reputation is understandable after some paparazzi used a drone as a robotic peeping Tom to photograph a certain topless young actress in her private backyard. And of course, there is also the controversial use of drones as weapons of war.
So, it was refreshing to hear that someone found a new and good use for drones. And, no, we’re not talking about Amazon delivering your next book or android phone in a jiffy. Alec Momont, an industrial design engineer at Delft University of Technology (also known as TU Delft) in Holland has created an “ambulance drone.” The drone is actually a flying defibrillator that comes to the aid of patients who are in coronary arrest. Alec made a very moving video that explains how the ambulance drone works and shows a dramatization of it in use (see link here to John Biggs’ TechCrunch article for the fantastic video).
The video opens with a frantic young woman in a shopping mall kneeling beside her Dad who has just had a heart attack. She calls in her emergency on her cell phone and a calm voice informs her that the ambulance drone is on its way. When the drone arrives just a minute later, the calm voice tells her to pick up the drone and bring it to her Dad. From there on in, all communication happens through the drone, which includes a webcam in addition to the defibrillator. Via remote, a doctor walks the young woman through the process of using the defibrillator to revive her Dad and the story has a happy ending. Oh, and the drone is really cute too (its a sunny yellow and almost looks to have a benevolent smile).
Alec explains that the ambulance drone has the potential to increase the chance of surviving a coronary arrest from 8% to 80%, due to the much faster response time. Unfortunately, it will be five years or more before the ambulance drone has a chance of being in use, but at least its on the horizon. Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze. What other (positive) uses of drones do you see on the horizon?