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Drone Delivers Kidney to Maryland Woman


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A drone carrying a donated kidney lands at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

A custom-made drone delivered a kidney this month to a Maryland woman who had waited eight years for a lifesaving transplant.

Credit: Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine

University of Maryland (UMD) researchers developed a drone that recently was used to deliver a kidney for implantation into a Maryland woman.

The drone was equipped with backup propellers and motors, dual batteries, and a parachute to stave off disaster should a component malfunction at high altitude.

Two ground-based pilots wirelessly monitored the drone in real time, to override its automated flight plan when necessary; built-in sensors also measured temperature, barometric pressure, and vibrations.

UMD's Joseph R. Scalea described the flight as a "proof of concept that this ... system can be innovated."

He said current organ delivery is a "data-blind" service, where an organ's progress en route is not visible to doctors.

In contrast, the UMD drone can provide updates of its progress. Scalea said, "It's like Uber for organs."

From The New York Times
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