Chris Anderson's Posts (6)

From the Intel Realsense blog:

Hundreds of thousands of people experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year. In Europe alone, that number is around 275,000. In the USA, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year. While emergency responders do everything they can to respond to these life threatening situations as rapidly as possible, survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests can be as low as 10%. When bystanders who witness an attack perform CPR, survival rates increase. Research shows that CPR and defibrillation together when used very quickly after an attack can further, drastically, increase survival and positive outcomes.


Cardiac arrest statistics

In one study by the American Heart Association, researchers looked at almost 50,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests, and specifically studied those arrests which happened in public, were witnessed and where an automated external defibrillator was available. Among their findings:

  • Cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly available AED had far greater chances of survival and being discharged from the hospital than those who did not; 66.5 percent versus 43 percent.
  • Cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly available AED that was administered by a bystander had 2.62 times higher odds of survival to hospital discharge and 2.73 times more favorable outcomes for functioning compared to victims who first received an AED shock after emergency responders arrived.
  • Victims who received an AED shock from a bystander (57.1 percent) using a publicly available device instead of having to wait for emergency responders (32.7 percent) had near normal function and better outcomes.
  • Without a bystander using AED shock therapy, 70 percent of cardiac arrest patients either died or survived with impaired brain function.
paramedic.jpg 300w" alt="Paramedic using an external defibrillator" width="700" height="467" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-12322" />

Paramedic using an external defibrillator.

It’s clear from this study that making AED devices available prior to the arrival of emergency responders can make a significant difference in eventual outcomes. Making AED devices available everywhere they could potentially be used is challenging and cost prohibitive. Swedish based Everdrone is looking to solve this problem using an autonomous drone system that allows an emergency medical call center to deliver a defibrillator to the site of a cardiac arrest within a few minutes. By providing the necessary equipment, bystanders will have the ability to initiate life-saving measures while awaiting professional medical care. The operations are carried out by Everdrone and are part of a clinical study in collaboration with Sweden’s national emergency call center, SOS Alarm, and the Centre for Resuscitation Science at Karolinska Institutet.

Autonomous vs. Automated

When talking about drones and robots, it’s essential to understand the difference between automated and autonomous. An automated system performs the same task over and over again. Think about systems like the huge automated robotic arms that build cars. These systems have no awareness of their environment, merely repeating the same movement and task. An autonomous system, on the other hand is able to make decisions based on its physical surroundings. In order for Everdrone’s aerial vehicles to detect obstacles and sense the distance to surrounding objects, they use Intel® RealSense™ D435 depth cameras. The solution is modular and supports up to 7 D435 cameras simultaneously feeding real-time depth data to the drone’s navigation system. The low weight is especially important for a drone which is already carrying relatively heavy AED systems.

Everdrone_AED_Images11.jpg 300w" alt="An Everdrone waiting to take off." width="700" height="394" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-12327" />

An Everdrone waiting to take off.

Safety first

For a system designed to save lives, it’s crucially important that the drone operation itself is safe, especially beyond visual line of sight from the operator. Since these drones could operate and be necessary in a huge variety of environments and conditions, they need an extremely reliable sense and avoid system. Using the Intel RealSense depth cameras combined with Everdrone’s proprietary software, the drones can be kept a safe distance from any obstacles, especially during takeoff and landing and during low-altitude navigation. The system is designed with the highest level of autonomy in mind, and with a level of safety that is on par with what is required for manned aviation. As one of the few companies in the world granted permission for operation in urban environments, Everdrone is clearly delivering safe autonomous operation that can be relied upon.

everdrone_with_intel_realsense.jpg 300w" alt="Intel RealSense Depth Camera D435 on the drone." width="700" height="467" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-12332" />

Intel RealSense Depth Camera D435 on the drone.

everdrone-with-depth-camera-d435.jpg 300w" alt="Close up of a D435 on the bottom of the drone – ideal for takeoff and landing." width="700" height="394" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-12337" />

Close up of a D435 on the bottom of the drone – ideal for takeoff and landing.

Other uses

While lifesaving AED delivery is a very important use for these drones, there are also situations where the same drones could be dispatched by emergency services for other uses. For example, an emergency medical call center or emergency response organization could dispatch drones to large incidents as a way to give first responders intelligence about conditions at a disaster site before they arrive. For example, in an earthquake, a drone could help a first responder plan a safe approach or path to their destination, or give important updates on fires or other issues.

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From Hackster

Keeping tabs on plant and crop yield is a difficult job, even with the best farm equipment on hand. Some have gone the high-tech route using SBC-powered cameras to track growth and potential diseases. Still, researcher and developer Enrico Miglino has decided to use a customized drone for plant monitoring and data collection. His Nanodrone is semi-autonomous, and employs sensors and a camera to garner information in real-time along a predefined path using a GPS and a series of waypoints.

Miglino designed his Nanodrone using a DJ Mavic Mini and a 3D-printed undercarriage that houses an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense, a forward-facing 2MP SPI Arducam, a GPS board, and a microSD card (for saving information). As mentioned earlier, the Nanodrone uses a series of waypoints for navigation and the camera to identify colors (ripeness) of specific plants, such as fruits and vegetables, which it does leveraging TensorFlow Lite.


Once the Nanodrone has completed its navigation cycle, it then heads to a base station that’s equipped with a PSoC6 Pioneer Kit, where it then delivers the data it has collected via BLE. After a predetermined number of cycles (more than one may be needed), the collected data is then sent over Wi-Fi to a Raspberry Pi, which further processes the readings for more detailed information.

Miglino lists a number of possible applications for his Nanodrone, including plant and tree inspections on small and medium farms, architectural structure variations on time and deformation analysis, and environmental impact changes. For those who would like to recreate his build, Miglino has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of the Nanodrone on his element14 page as the project is still ongoing.

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The full schedule of the PX4 virtual developer summit has now been posted. I'm going to be speaking on July 7 on PX4 and the FAA's new drone type certification process. 

This is the second annual PX4 developer conference and the first one sold out fast. This one will be virtual of course, which means that it's now much more accessible to people in different countries and time zones.  Even better, it's free!

You can see highlights of last year's developer summit here.







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From the Shapeways blog, a good interview with PX4-based Quantum Systems:


Quantum Systems is a Munich-based company specializing in advanced eVTOL (electric vertical take off and landing) drones. Most recently Quantum Systems tested using their Trinity F90+ to deliver medical samples, opening up new possibilities for applying drone technology to facilitate medical needs.

Founded in 2015, the company has grown quickly by utilizing 3D printing from the beginning of their journey. From rapidly prototyping to printing laser-sintered serial production parts, 3D printing allows for the production of complex but lightweight parts that are free from design constraints, cutting time and mistakes while keeping costs at a minimum.

Quantum Systems has used Shapeways’ printing services to create the ultimate eVTOL aircrafts. We interviewed their CEO, Florian Seibel, to gain more insights on how 3D printing contributes to their drone-making process.

What is your name and role at Quantum Systems?

Florian Seibel, CEO of Quantum Systems

I am Florian Seibel, and since the founding of Quantum-Systems GmbH in 2015, I’ve held the position of CEO.

The core team of the founders got to know each other as part of their scientific work at the Institute of Flight Systems of the German Armed Forces in Munich. My expertise is the development and the operation of small unmanned aerial vehicles with the focus on design, construction and production methods. With my vision of a licensed, VTOL fixed-wing UAV, I was the initiator of the patent to secure the innovative aspects of the UAV and the driving force behind the founding of the company Quantum-Systems GmbH.

Tell us more about Quantum-Systems

Quantum-Systems GmbH was founded in 2015 in Munich and specializes in the development and production of automatic, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) fixed-wing drones for a wide variety of use cases. The 50+ employees are working intensively on combining range and electric efficiency with the ability to vertically take off and land without additional equipment.

Our passion is the continuous development of industry-leading VTOL aircrafts. With our ready-to-operate systems we serve a wide range of customers. We help to increase yields in agriculture, fly 3-D reconstruction missions, do tactical mapping for security forces or provide mission-critical video footage in real time to military users. Made in Germany, non ITAR and no back doors in soft or hardware as all of our flight planning and autopilot software is designed in-house.

Why did you choose additive manufacturing and not alternative manufacturing processes?

The complex geometry of 3D-printed parts saves weight by using synergy effects. With synergy effects we mean that with 3D-printed parts we are able to reduce the total number of parts by designing multiple-use parts with integral functionality.

What are the benefits of using additive manufacturing with Shapeways vs using traditional manufacturing?

We used 3D-printing right away, so there is no comparison. Quantum-Systems is a young company. Only because of the fact that we have integrated this manufacturing method into our manufacturing and development process, have we been able to significantly reduce development time. For injection moulded parts we save around 10 weeks by using 3D-printed samples to release the CAD data. The probability that these parts need a second loop of corrections is quite low in this way. For cnc-manufactured parts it is the same, we just often skip the first round of samples with 3D-printed parts which saves us 3-4 weeks. In general I would say 3D-printing saves us 20-50% of time, depending on which parts we design.

What do you value most in additive manufacturing services? 

We can have fast iterations in development and save time to mature our prototypes.

Why did you choose Shapeways?

Simple customer interface and good print quality! And on top of that, you are quick!

Trinity F90+ Payload Bay with a dual camera mount for RGB and multispectral images. Image source: Quantum Systems

What types of 3D printing do you use Shapeways for? 

We have many prototype parts and even some serial production parts laser sintered.

Which materials do you print in and why? 

In general, we order Versatile Plastic and HP (Multi Jet Fusion PA12), sometimes colorized. The material properties are perfect for building light and strong drone parts. We prefer HP at the moment, but for some parts, especially big ones, we order Versatile Plastic due to the price.

Any future projects on the horizon?

A lot! And fortunately, all projects require the use of 3D printing. The drones sector still offers a lot of room to pack more features into smaller and more flexible products.

3D printing prototypes and parts has given Quantum Systems the ability to cut substantial time, effort and potential mistakes by streamlining their production process. See how Shapeways can help you prototype and take your designs to the next level.

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This season has a theme of using drones for disease response. NXP is offering competitors their PX4-based drone development set (usually $700) for just $300, which is a great deal. 

More details here

What will you enable your HoverGames drone to do?
Drones could play a role before, during or after a pandemic – or even prevent a pandemic entirely by controlling outbreaks of disease. How could your code save lives and protect the world?

How about disinfecting surfacesmedicine deliverydispensing hand sanitizer or masks on-demand, providing social support for quarantined patients or even collecting nasal and throat samples for testing? Or the provision of communication networks in places where internet availability is low? Drones can be flying medical personnel, flying network routers and even flying postal workers, delivering letters or handwritten notes to people in isolation. 


You'll use the HoverGames drone development kit. This modular, open development platform uses reliable automotive and industrial-grade components from NXP. You can experiment with additional hardware components from NXP and other providers – you are only bound by your own creativity. And your drone will be PX4-enabled, the largest commercially deployed open-source flight stack worldwide with business-friendly licensing.

The kit contains:

  • Flight Management Unit (RDDRONE-FMUK66 FMU) that’s supported by the opensource flight stack on top of NuttX RTOS.
  • Strong, rigid lightweight carbon fiber quadcopter frame with platform, mounting rails, landing gear, motor controllers, motors and props
  • Telemetry radio and remote control (RC) radio

Take your idea and apply for a hardware coupon, now until July 31st

The top 100 applications chosen will receive a coupon.

  • If you are new to the HoverGames you pay only $300 (which is a $400 discount) to get the HoverGames drone reference development kit, Remote Control and Telemetry Radio. PLUS, you'll receive our 8MMNavQ experimental custom companion computer using NXP i.MX 8M Mini Vision development board, with a camera module that runs Linux and ROS.
  • If you have already joined the HoverGames before and have a drone, pay only $50 ($150 discount) to receive the 8MMNavQ companion computer.

For details check the Apply for hardware

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