Although Amazon may be the first company to begin drone testing for commercial use back in 2013. Funding for drone related startups has sky rocketed in 2016 to millions of dollars, and of course medical startups have not been left behind. Entrepreneurs in the medical industry have also begun prototyping and testing several of these drones that can be used for a range of purposes. Some entrepreneurs are working to build a network of ‘flying things’ to deliver critical medical supplies to inaccessible areas all across the world. Although the ambition may be set very high, but with million people living with no access to all-season roads, there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.
|On July 27, 2016, Michigan-based Vayu, Inc. and Stony Brook University, with support from the Madagascan government and backing from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have completed the first ever series of long-range, fully autonomous drone flights transporting blood and stool samples from rural villages to centralized labs. The exercise was undertaken to demonstrate how drones can be used to improve healthcare for vulnerable rural communities, where delivery of care is hampered by poor or non-existent|
roads. The samples were flown from villages in rural Madagascar to Stony Brook University’s Centre ValBio research station, for further testing. The unique ability of Vayu’s drone to take off and land like a helicopter and fly long distances could help vulnerable remote communities get the medical care they deserve. Other than medication delivery, several other advances have also been made in drone use in medicine.
Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands designed a prototype used for delivery of potentially life-saving automated defibrillators – potentially the most exciting use of drones so far! The drone would also be equipped with a two way radio, camera and video screen that could be used to help out in case of emergency, whilst waiting for the paramedics to arrive. This would allow someone at the other end to instruct members of the public on the use of the defibrillator and how to perform CPR. “It is essential that the right medical care is provided within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest,” Momont said in a press statement. The drone has not yet been tested on real patients, but Momont hopes that it will be available in the field over the next 5 years. Take a look at the following video which illustrates how one of these medical drones may be used in the near future: