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Defikopter drone air-drops a defibrillator to EMTs on the ground

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September 12, 2013

The Defikopter is a UAV that can be activated by a smartphone app to automatically take to...

The Defikopter is a UAV that can be activated by a smartphone app to automatically take to the skies and drop a defibrillator to medical personnel on the ground

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We've seen flying drones designed to deliver food and even beer on command, but a new autonomous aircraft from a non-profit organization in Germany could provide medical equipment to remote areas in an emergency. The Defikopter is a UAV that can be activated by a smartphone app to automatically take to the skies and drop a defibrillator to medical personnel on the ground, shaving precious seconds from the time it takes to receive treatment for cardiac arrest.

The idea for the drone comes from Definetz, a non-profit group dedicated to preventing deaths due to heart failure. The company has noted that in its home country alone about 100,000 deaths in the past year have been attributed to cardiac arrest, but some of these might have been prevented if a defibrillator had been on hand at the time. With this is mind, the group teamed up with drone maker Height Tech GmbH and Swiss defibrillator manufacturer Schiller to essentially create a flying medical responder.

The way it works is fairly simple. Once it's released, anyone with a smartphone will be able to download a free app and instantly request the Defikopter in an emergency. If it's within range, the UAV will be dispatched and automatically follow GPS coordinates to the mobile phone's location, where it will either land or drop a defibrillator attached to a parachute. The developers envision it being deployed to sparsely populated areas where emergency services might be hindered by rough terrain, such as the side of a mountain, as well as other hard-to-reach locations, like the middle of a traffic jam.

According to the developers, the Defikopter is capable of traveling up to 70 km/h (43 mph)...

The aircraft itself appears to be a modified version of Height Tech's HT-8-2000, which has been outfitted with a mechanism for releasing its payload in mid-air. According to the developers, the Defikopter is capable of traveling up to 70 km/h (43 mph) and can reach locations within a radius of 10 km (6.2 mi). Each Defikopter weighs 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs) when carrying a defibrillator and comes with a price tag of €20,000 (about US$15,000).

None of the companies involved have revealed a possible time frame for when the Defikopter might be available to the public, and at the moment it seems only a prototype exists, which still requires an active pilot.

For now though, check out the video below to see the Defikopter attending to a staged heart attack in the middle of a golf course.

Source: Definetz, Height Tech via The Local

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher
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10 Comments

The Dronosphere: Is the lower atmosphere going to become like earth orbit space, so full of flying junk that it becomes dangerous?

Doug MacLeod
12th September, 2013 @ 03:55 am PDT

If you have a vertical flight platform why does the payload need to be dropped by parachute? if it was a fixed wing drone that would deliver the cargo faster sure but it is a helicopter.

Slowburn
12th September, 2013 @ 07:55 am PDT

It just 'defikates' its load...got to change the name

Pelotoner
13th September, 2013 @ 05:30 am PDT

I wonder why they dont just make a stronger lifter and send a medpack with person to location (I.E. personal helicopter) Which flies to GPS locations so the user doesnt have to know where they are going.

sure the drones are lightweight carriers, but the tech is evolving and could go further...

yinfu99
13th September, 2013 @ 08:46 am PDT

Exactly, Pelotoner! That was my first thought. Defibrokopter, for example, would be an obvious choice and avoid embarrassment.

Slowburn, notice that the article says "it will either land or drop a defibrillator attached to a parachute." You should read more about the products you choose to ridicule—there's plenty of fodder for fun with this product's name, but the intended implementation sounds quite reasonable.

DavidB
13th September, 2013 @ 09:33 am PDT

We have the delivery system (a biggish quadricopter).

We have automatic defibrillators that, once placed on the victim's chest will diagnose and administer shocks as appropriate. (Seriously! An ad for one even came up on this page.)

All we need now is the hardware and AI to get the electrodes automatically onto the victim's chest without human intervention. . . And maybe some autonomous (or remotely authorized) ability to inject the more common drugs which often accompany defibrillation.

rocketride
13th September, 2013 @ 11:45 am PDT

Make the defibrilitor integral to the drone. It could drop right down on the patient and jolt away. A bit like a face hugger... a chest hugger, with kinder intentions.

Satweavers
13th September, 2013 @ 05:16 pm PDT

Show me anyplace that the "quadricopter" can't land that a parachute delivered load has a 10% or better chance of ending up usefully close.

Slowburn
15th September, 2013 @ 05:32 pm PDT

The side of a mountain.

Rt1583
16th September, 2013 @ 05:36 am PDT

@ Rt1583

Did you ever play with parachutes as a kid? and the winds in mountains make getting a parachute to a target less likely.

Slowburn
16th September, 2013 @ 10:31 am PDT
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