AED training with a 3D-printed model and a smartphone app


Early defibrillation plays a critical role in improving survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Widespread use of public-access automated external defibrillators (AED) improves survival with a favourable neurologic outcome [1,2]. Therefore, as many people as possible must have the knowledge necessary to use an AED.

Although public-access AEDs are widely established in developed countries, it is difficult to reach and train the entire population in defibrillation. The most popular method for teaching basic life support (BLS) is a traditional classroom course with a mannequin and an AED trainer. However, self-directed training was as effective as instructor-led education for BLS [3], opening the possibility of learning CPR and how to use an AED at home. AED trainers allow to practice and become confident with the AED through simulation. However, high-quality models mimicking all features and audio-visual prompts are often very expensive and restricted to training centres.

Aim of the project

To increase the accessibility of AED training, we prototyped a 3D model, printable with a 3D printer, resembling the shape of a real AED trainer. In addition, we developed a smartphone application that simulates the audio-visual features of an AED of both shockable and non-shockable scenarios. A smartphone, with the app opened, can be inserted inside the 3D-printed model, simulating the electronic part of the AED. Real or training AED electrode pads can be used. Alternatively, a sheet of paper with AED pads drawn can be printed. All the resources, including the 3D model, are available as open-source materials to the resuscitation community on the website.

3D-printed model of an automated external defibrillator (AED) trainer. A) 3D CAD drawing; B) action of inserting a smartphone into the trainer; C) training session with a low-cost mannequin and the 3D-printed AED trainer.

Differences with commercially available and carton-based AED trainers

Compared with carton-based AED trainers, a 3D-printed plastic model is more resistant and realistic. Moreover, this 3D model can be printed with any 3D printer at home, online or in stores. The costs could be higher than carton-based trainers but still affordable. Compared to commercially available AED trainers, the major drawbacks of this solution are the impossibility to detect when the electrode pads are correctly attached, the connector is plugged in, and if someone touches the mannequin during rhythm analysis.


To conclude, the 3D-printed AED trainer is a potential tool to further spread the knowledge of AED and for regular training in the community. Combining an app with a 3D-printed AED trainer could be helpful in the setting of mass training where every participant can use their smartphone, at home for self-directed training or after a standard BLS course for maintenance of skills. The aim should not be to reduce the quality of training but to extend the diffusion into the community, promote continuous education, and teach family members and friends.

View and download the 3D model

Download on GitHub

Download paper AED electrode pads

Suggested apps

  • LiveCPR (iOS)


  1. Hallstrom AP, Ornato JP, Weisfeldt M, Travers A, Christenson J, McBurnie MA, et al. Public-access defibrillation and survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. N Engl J Med 2004;351:637–46.
  2. Kitamura T, Kiyohara K, Sakai T, Matsuyama T, Hatakeyama T, Shimamoto T, et al. Public-access defibrillation and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Japan. N Engl J Med 2016;375:1649–59.
  3. Bylow H, Karlsson T, Claesson A, Lepp M, Lindqvist J, Herlitz J. Self-learning training versus instructor-led training for basic life support: A cluster randomised trial. Resuscitation 2019;139:122–32.
  4. Fernandez CJL, Diez DR, Caminos CB, Eito JF, Martinez L, Mendoza NV. THE AED TRAINER BOX: Making AED training easier for the community. Resuscitation 2018;130:e67.