Transplant organ delivered for the first time by drone
The University of Maryland and their School of Medicine counterpart devised and developed a custom built drone which would become the first unmanned aerial system of its kind to deliver a transplant organ. Due to the importance of transplant organs, the drone has been created with a backup power distributor, dual batteries, backup propellors and even a parachute system to ensure that whatever happens in an emergency, the drone is able to maintain and monitor the human organ.
“We built in a lot of redundancies, because we want to do everything possible to protect the payload,” said Anthony Pucciarella, director of operations at the UMD UAS Test Site.
The process was devised with simply everything in the mind. The drone was developed with temperature, barometric pressure, GPS, vibrations and altitude as well as the ability to transmit data to smartphones.
“We had to create a new system that was still within the regulatory structure of the FAA, but also capable of carrying the additional weight of the organ, cameras, and organ tracking, communications and safety systems over an urban, densely populated area – for a longer distance and with more endurance,” said Matthew Scassero, director of UMD’s UAS Test Site. “There’s a tremendous amount of pressure knowing there’s a person waiting for that organ, but it’s also a special privilege to be a part of this critical mission.”
The drone has now successfully been used, allowing a patient to be discharged from hospital after spending 8 years on dialysis .
“This history-making flight not only represents a breakthrough from a technological point of view, but provides an exemplary demonstration of how engineering expertise and ingenuity ultimately serve human needs—in this case, the need to improve the reliability and efficiency of organ delivery to hospitals conducting transplant surgery,” said Professor Darryll J Pines, dean of UMD’s School of Engineering.
May 3, 2019
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