Let A CPR Robot Save The Day

Four highschool students in Lyon France are building a CPR robot, with the aim of removing the endurance problem faced by those delivering this form of essential first aid.

By every after action report, CPR is an emotionally and physically exhausting way to save a life. When someone’s heart stops beating their breathing stops too. After that there’s a very small window in which to keep just enough oxygen in the blood to prevent brain damage and organ failure. A person has to precisely position their hands and press, repeatedly, with enough force to break someone’s sternum in order to keep their heart pumping; sometimes for over fifteen minutes waiting for rescue to arrive. On top of that, depending on which school of thought they learned the technique, they may be required to also force air into the patients lungs.

While this pushes the boundary of human endurance, a robot would not have the same issue. In fact, many of the existing problems are solved. CPAP Machines can force air into lungs all day long. A motor and a mechanism could position and provide the mechanical pumping motion to keep the blood flowing. Sensors could tell when the heart takes back over. The machine is currently a proof-of-concept built from plywood, and off-the-shelf parts. Yet it can maintain the 30 compression – 2 breath cycle indefinitely on a CPR Dummy.

It’s an interesting idea; while defibrillators do exist, they don’t always get the heart going in time. We wonder if someone more medically inclined can weigh in on this interesting idea.

24 thoughts on “Let A CPR Robot Save The Day

  1. It’s a nice project. Not ground breaking, but a nice project.

    There are a number of commercially available options, and, in my region, some EMT and Parimedic rigs carry one. Autopulse and LUCAS are two current offerings.

  2. Fun project.

    But to call it proof of concept is ridiculous given there are already several in-use commercial systems (autopulse, LUCAS) and I believe these devices have been in testing and practice for over a decade.

    Their approach was some of the first tried but it was found too difficult to manoever people in and out of such systems and the pressure required was much more than load spreading bands for example.

    Nice work even if it’s a bit boringly derivative.

    I believe the longest record of using mechanical CPR is over 8 hours (with recovery) but that might have been beaten in the past 5 years or so since I checked.

  3. This exist as a commercial product for quite a while now and the machine I know of is called Lucas. Have seen it in both Germany and Norway on ambulances and rescue helicopters.

    Defibrillators that anybody can use are also becoming normal in public buildings and even outdoors where there typically are a lot of people…


    The project is nonetheless really ama

  4. Hi, Paramedic here. My fire department has Lucas devices, a battery-powered compression machine. Our gold standard of care is human compressors, rotating every 2 minutes to maintain optimal form and frequency. CPR is hard work, and it can sometimes last 45-60 minutes to follow our algorithm. We bring a minimum of 9 people to such events, and sometimes more. However, for ongoing CPR during transport or difficult extrications (fairly rare, but imagine bringing a patient down a flight of stair on a backboard) this tool is our go-to. Early CPR and defibrillation is key to survival, but some cardiac arrests are resuscitated with a variety of medical interventions, without defibrillation.

    Here’s some more info on High-Performance CPR:

    1. Proper CPR does use your arms or even upper torso.

      You’re dropping your weight on and off.

      Loads of glute work out after a session of effective CPR.

      They use arms in TV shows so as not to crush ribs of actors.

  5. …over here in Australia, coz we’re a little different, 100 compressions per minute has been the in thing for ~5 to 10 years now. And ditch the breathes altogether due to the know-it-alls reckoning that the compressions pull in enough oxygen.
    Compressions are taught to the beat of Staying Alive – Beegees.

    1. Compression only CPR is taught in the US here to the general public now.
      But EMTs and people who are actually CPR certified still get taught rescue breaths.

      Difference, as I understand it comes down to hesitation… rescue breaths good, but not so good to justify stopping compressions while some one hesitates to do the breaths because “Gross!”…

  6. Not a bad idea, considering I know some people who DO know CPR, but have told me they won’t use it or let most people
    know that they can perform it, simply so they don’t get sued if they fail to resuscitate the victim.

    1. I sincerly hope that isn’t the reason for not doing CPR.

      CPR is brutal and indignified – it is akin to commiting serious assult on someone and IF it works, typically it will only buy you a bit of time for someone to get help – aed, oxygen, paramedic, ambulance etc…

      However the alternative is that if you do nothing, the patient is going to stay dead.

    2. I’m CPR certified, and your friends have it exactly backwards. Hour One of the training covers the legal side. Good Samaritan laws exist in most countries and all 50 US states that specifically protect people who try to assist. You CANNOT be sued if the person dies, full stop. In fact, if it becomes known you are CPR certified and DON’T try to help, THAT carries liability in some jurisdictions. Also your friends are monsters.

      1. Wrong wrong wrong…. in the USA anyways where you truly CAN be sued for any reason whatsoever. Now under the circumstances where someone renders aid and is sued, the likely outcome is the case will be dismissed but that does not prevent you from being sued. And it is a myth that if you standby and do nothing that you will be sued. You will only likely to be sued in the event you are a medical professional and in a facility that normally renders emergency aid, see EMTALA.

  7. I’m kind of thinking, a lot of the time there will be an injury associated with such a heart failure event. May be a car crash, a big fall (say off a roof), industrial accident and such. These will require specialist care due to possible spinal issues or need recovery position etc. how would such a machine deal with that? This one looks big due to the frame how would one carry such a device let alone have one handy. One thing that is always handy is our hands – most people have a pair.

    So in summary I think it is a nice idea but the design is cumbersome and outside of a worksite and such having one and even then the size and weight…

    But, I was thinking if the mechanism could be converted to a pneumatic design where the body would have a larger fabric or plastic sleeve put over the heart/cheat area and it had a pocket containing a bladder device like from an Australian football in it with a hose fitting. The big sleeve could have sensors in it that measured the inflation pressure to ensure correct chest cavity depression. Such a device could be light, portable, cheap and adaptable for different body positions (on-side recovery etc).

    The problem with both devices is the need to move the body. If there is spinal injury it is risky.

  8. So yes. While I have seen the other comments about Lucas and Autopulse devices (my department has a Lucas 2 and has deployed it numerous times) the thing I would like to see these youngsters do is 2 fold:
    1) make a way to interface to our heart monitors so that as soon as the compressions stop the system analyzes reducing downtime and ensuring compressions dont start until the analyze is done.
    2) Make the dang thing cheaper. We got our Lucas on a grant and there was NO way we could have bought that if we had to get it on its own. Thing was worth like $30000 US list or something. If these kids can get the tech for less then good on them. Yes I know medical is expensive but sometimes it feels expenive just because it IS medical.

  9. Funny how none of the “experts” here address the abysmal success rates of CPR. And yes, I get that “trying something, anything” is sometimes “better than nothing” in that, if you do nothing, the dead will remain dead for sure. But CPR doesn’t have much more success than doing nothing. Even in an ideal setting, say a fully staffed trauma center with all the proper tools of the trade such as medications, epi, lidocaine, et cetera, and other interventions still have very low success rates – and even when it does work, recipients are often not long for the world anyway, or end up with brain damage of varying degrees.
    I have to be certified in CPR as part of a job requirement, but it’s readily apparent that its more of a legal cover than the illusion of saving lives. The trauma nurses that come to teach the course address that fact at least. “DNR” tattoos are pretty common amongst trauma doctors too…

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.