You're alone and injured, lying on a battlefield. You're not sure what hit you first, the enemies' gunfire or the IED they planted at your feet. But now you're wondering if the blood in your mouth will be your final impression of this mortal coil.
But then you hear it, the sound of tiny treads tearing a path through the sand toward you and the whir of mechanical arms deploying into action. Help is on the way.
According to the U.S. Army, robotic medics could be the future of the battlefield. Automatons could replace humans in exacting wounded soldiers from the midst of enemy fire, helping preserve the valuable lives of emergency responders.
But what if no one hears your cry for help? New sensors could be used to monitor the vital signs of combatants, alerting medics of the need to deploy extraction robots. Sensors could also be used to extract the most injured soldiers first.
Maj. Gen. Steve Jones, who commands the Army Medical Department Center and School and is chief of the Medical Corps, explains that "We have lost medics throughout the years because they have the courage to go forward and rescue their comrades under fire. With the newer technology, with the robotic vehicles we are using even today to examine and to detonate IEDs (improvised explosive devices), those same vehicles can go forward and retrieve casualties."
Do you like the idea of keeping human medics out of harm's way? Does a future of more mechanized battlefield concern you?