Automatic cardio-pulmonary resuscitation

Building an automatic CPR robot by hacking existing medical products and controlling them using a minicomputer. The actions of the robot will be overseen by a human, either a paramedic or an emergency physician.

This is a proof-of-concept project; not for patient use.


Building an automatic CPR robot and teaching it to perform advanced life support (ALS) according to current European Resuscitation Council guidelines (2010).

No need to reinvent the wheel

Commercially available medical products (see graphic) are already used to do all of the individual things we need for CPR. They just haven't been made to work together.

It's time to connect the dots!

Elements of CPR

Modern CPR consists 2 stages: basic life support or BLS and advanced life support or ALS.

Basic Life Support (BLS)

Basic Life Support can be performed by any first responder and does not require advanced training or any medical device. BLS should be performed until the emergency team reaches the patient. Did you know that only 15% of first responders in germany start BLS? In the Netherlands and in scandinavian countries, that figure is closer to 60% [1]. To learn more about BLS in germany and what YOU can do to help, visit

Advanced Life Support (ALS)

Once an emergency team reaches the patient, ALS begins and should be perfomed according to current (2010) European Resuscitation Council guidelines. The treatment algorithm, called megacode, is usually described in the following graphic. [source: German Resuscitation Council]

In order to perform high-quality ALS, we need to do several things: give chest compression, administer medication in the correct order and dose, and be able to read an ecg and defibrillate when neccessary. Oh yeah, and keep time. Sounds simple right?

To learn more about megacode and ALS, click here (.pdf alert).

The Challenges of CPR

Lots of effort goes into performing high-quality Advanced Life Support: fast response-times (even to unfamiliar locations), a well-trained team of at least 3 EMTs, working with modern equipment and drawing on a high level of professional experience are usually what's required to get it just right in such a high-stress emergency situation. Unfortunately, reality can be different..

Unfamiliar locations (such as in someone's house or on the street etc), a lack of manpower (or too much of it: people can start getting in each other's way!), and a team unfamiliar with their equipment who may be inexperienced and stressed usually mean that things will not go as smoothly as they should. And that can cost lives.

Improving the status quo

The current mantra to overcoming daily challenges such as those highlighted above has been to practice, practice, practice.

While we think practice and team coordination exercises certainly help, we also believe this: there has got to be a better way! Our solution to the problem lies in harnessing technology to free up human eyes, ears, and hands, thus allowing MDs and EMTs to use more of their most valuable resource: their minds.

We envision the CPR robot as a machine that, once attached to the patient, can deliver treatment in an automated manner. Staying true to the 2010 ERC guidelines on CPR, a human operator will be required to interpret the patient's ecg readout every 2 minutes, and the robot will do the rest!

The CPR robot project is meant to be a proof-of-concept. By repurposing existing medical products we intend to demonstrate that such a device is technically possible and can be built TODAY. Once we prove it can be done, we would hope that our project will provide an impetus for the medical device industry to bring such a product to market.

The CPR Robot consists of 4 components

User interface

Coding the ALS-algorithm with Javascript und building a gaphic user interface around it.

coming soon


Hacking a syringe pump to inject adrenaline every 3 minutes using an Arduino Uno.



Hacking an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to apply defibrillation using an Arduino Uno.

coming soon


Hacking an automatic chest compression machine to deliver chest compression as needed using an Arduino Uno.

coming soon