I wrote earlier this week about the trial of drone based deliveries by Swiss Post. It is one of many similar projects underway throughout the developed world using drone technology in civilian settings.
A common issue for most of these projects are the regulatory hurdles that must be overcome before such devices can be flown in built up areas.
It has led some commentators to suggest that drones will initially flourish more in the developing world where remote villages span huge distances and a lack of regulatory framework provides little to hamper the development of the technology.
Drone-Based Disease Detection
One interesting use case is highlighted by Project Premonition, which is being developed by a team of researchers at Microsoft to help improve the detection of disease, especially the kind that transmutes from animals to humans.
This process typically takes about two weeks of doctors physically examining individual patients before then reporting their suspicions to the relevant authorities.
The project is currently under development in Grenada where the research team are collecting data from various micro-organisms present in the local environment, with the eventual aim being to track mosquitoes and other infectious agents as they travel the world.
This will hopefully enable the team to spot potential diseases whilst they’re in their infancy and limit the spread of infections amongst either the human or animal populations.
Should the project in Grenada prove successful, the team then hope to scale things up globally, with the drones collecting a wide range of samples that can then be processed in labs using gene sequencing to try and spot pathogens.
It’s a nice way to use this burgeoning technology to improve science and health related research. Check out the video below for more information on the project.