We all know just how convenient it is to tap a button on an app and have a taxi appear moments later - but now the same premise is being used to potentially save lives.
NDTV reports that researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have come up with an app they call AED-SOS, which enables the user to summon a defibrillator, if someone nearby is having a cardiac arrest.
The way it works is just like Uber: when you send the signal for help, potential "co-rescuers" receive a notification, and will come dashing, portable defibrillator in hand, to assist. The thinking is straightforward: The earlier someone is helped, the better chance they have of survival. This is particularly crucial when they're not in hospital - and not surrounded by doctors and defibrillators.
A study of 52 people following the creation of the app also suggests positive outcomes: the time from recognition of the cardiac arrest to when they got zapped was slashed from an average of 202.2 seconds to 133.6. Going from three minutes to two minutes might not seem like a big leap, but in emergency situations every second counts.
Surprisingly, (to our knowledge) this is the first time something like this has been done - though there have been previous, less practical proposals, to use drones to deliver defibrillators in emergencies.
It'll be interesting to see where the research leads as imagine if this sort of thinking could be incorporated directly into iOS or Android so that rather than simply dial 999, you could summon a more intelligent solution?