A ‘USA Today’ investigation a few years ago found that, of the 250,000 fatal cardiac arrests that occur outside of U.S. hospitals every year, up to 76,000 cases were treatable if the ambulance had got there within six minutes. The normal reaction to this might be: invest in a better ambulance fleet, more call centers, and so on. But Stefen Riegebauer, a graduate student from Austria, has a different, more futuristic, idea: to build a first aid drone network that gets people and equipment to the scene more quickly.
This is the idea: You create an app that anyone trained in first aid signs up to, creating a mobile community. You then station defibrillator-equipped drones on top of tall buildings across the city, linked by sensors. When someone needs help, they, or someone nearby, sends a request. The nearest first-aider accepts the task, and rushes to the site, and the unmanned vehicle sweeps from the sky, delivering the kit where it’s needed. Simple right?