“Drones are likely to be the 21st century’s best medical sample delivery system,” according to Dr. Timothy Amukele.

Amukele is an assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the lead researcher on an Arizona study that examined the effectiveness of using drones to transport medical samples, in this case eighty-four blood samples, over long distances.

Photo via Johns Hopkins University
Photo via Johns Hopkins University

The data that was culled together from these three-hour drone flights highlight how medical services can be delivered to remote rural areas, through the use of drones.

By happenstance, researchers at Johns Hopkins University also set a drone delivery distance record with their study. The team’s UAVs were able to safely transport medical samples across 161 miles. Evaluating the contents upon delivery, the samples were deemed, “viable for laboratory analysis.”

This is great news and a major achievement in the work to bring larger medical facilities and their services to sometimes remote, rural areas. Drones don’t need roads to operate on and can overcome logistical issues that wheeled vehicles cannot. They are also not as expensive as helicopters and planes, which also require landing areas.

“We expect that in many cases, drone transport will be the quickest, safest and most efficient option to deliver some biological samples to a laboratory from rural or urban settings,” Dr. Amukele added. “Getting diagnostic results far more quickly under difficult conditions will almost certainly improve care and save more lives.”

Origami Drone can be Fast and Reliable in Disaster Relief Efforts

Photo via EPFL
Photo via EPFL

Brought to life by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), this caged quadcopter drone uses a collapsible origami-esque design, optimized for disaster relief.

Able to carry up to 500g over a distance of 2 km, the drone has a carbon-fibre outer structure protecting the drone and its cargo in the event of a fall or collision. The cage-like exterior collapses in easily, impressively reducing its volume by 92 percent when folded. This makes it easier to catch should it fall and also allows the drone to land on uneven terrain.

Despite lead researcher and avionics lecturer Steve Wright admitting that the technology is still very limited when it comes to batteries and parts, he does say that this origami-inspired drone would be extremely helpful in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

After delivering its load, the robotics team designed the drone to be able to return on its own, tracking it in real time via tablet or smartphone.

Agriculture Drones count Plants and accumulates Range of Data for Farmers

Photo via Agridrone
Photo via Agridrone

The ‘AgriDrone’ can count the number of plants in a defined area, generate a report, and ultimately help farmers who need to identify water shortages in their fields.

Its helpfulness is no more evident than in far reaches of the world, such as Malta, where agriculture plays such a prominent role. Less rain in the region has been affecting Malta’s produce yields and most recently, the country’s wine growers have expressed concern at the consequences the lack of rain has had.

The AgriDrone has been designed to provide insight into aspects of agriculture work, such as sowing quality, plant growth for seasonal crops, plant count in perennial plantations, weed and pest detection, plant disease analysis, and water stress.

Thus far, the technology is able to supply seven types of analyses, derived from aerial oversight.

Why Drones are being Used to Shape the Future of Solar Power

Lightweight and flexible in their application, drones are playing a major role in testing the next generation of solar cells.

A team at the University of Cambridge are presently studying how to use the common mineral perovskite as a low-cost replacement for silicon, which is currently the most popular material used in the design of solar power cells.

Photo via NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Photo Collection
Photo via NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Photo Collection

Implementing perovskite in its place, it may be possible to provide more long-term stability, allowing a solar-powered drone to potentially fly for months at a time.

Presently, the only thing stopping these type of solar-powered drones from being popularized is cost. High quality solar cells are very, very expensive. If the team at the University of Cambridge are able to successfully develop solar cells using perovskite however, it will help bring down the cost significantly.

What could these types of solar powered drone flights be used for? A drone that is able to stay in the sky for months on end can help bring internet connection to areas who don’t otherwise have it. They could be used to provide better cell phone service in rural, remote communities. Delivery services, such as Amazon, could benefit as well.

The beauty of Iceland in less than 5 Minutes of Drone Time

Waterfalls, whales, and untouched landscapes lie in wait across the remote regions of Iceland. Captured using a DJI Mavic Pro with PolarPro filters, browse through the 4 plus minutes of footage to see the stunning Westfjords in September.

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