How Drones Could Deliver Better Health

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Drones are the sexy, mysterious tech craze that are often a butt of a joke, a vague solution or an ominous threat. But no matter how flashy, good technology should still solve concrete problems. Amid the hype of getting packages and pizzas delivered in half the time, what if drones could revolutionize transportation networks, connecting people to what they actually need the most?

The health of a community relies on efficient networks. Medicine and medical supplies need to be transported reliably from Point A to Point B. This, in turn, relies on roads to travel on. Sturdy roads, able to endure heavy rains and bad weather, are something many in developed countries take for granted. But worldwide, a staggering one billion people lack access to all-season roads. What that means for people who live in remote villages: a simple rainstorm can turn a dirt road into a muddy and impassable mess, cutting them off from vital goods, services and medicines.

A surprising new technology might make a difference. Andreas Raptopoulos (watch his TED Talk) and Paola Santana co-founded Matternet, a company that adds smart software to nimble drones. Their signature product, Matternet ONE, can carry 1 kilogram of cargo over 15-20 kilometers on a single battery charge.

Matternet has worked with WHO in Bhutan to deliver medical supplies to remote hospitals, and with MSF (Doctors Without Borders) in Papua New Guinea to transport medical tests for tuberculosis.

Source: TED Blog (link opens in a new window)

Health Care, Technology
healthcare technology