“Inventors Victoria Wangia-Anderson, Manish Kumar, Seung-Yeon Lee and Debi Sampsel from three colleges at UC collaborated to develop a semi-autonomous prototype that can be dispatched right to people’s homes,” says a UC press release. “The drones are big enough to carry medicine or medical supplies but small enough to maneuver the tight confines of a home using navigational algorithms developed by UC engineers.”
Access to healthcare is a major problem around the world – one that has been exacerbated during the recent pandemic. In the U.S., 1 in 4 people do not have a primary care physician where they can receive regular care. Telehealth technologies have improved: and more and more healthcare providers are offering virtual office visits through technologies like Skype and Facetime. This kind of telehealth is a useful first step: but they require that patients have access to high speed internet. Receiving test kits, supplies, medications and other services still requires a patient to leave their home. The UC telehealth drone provides the camera and display screen so that patients can engage in a conversation with their provider. It also performs a delivery function, carrying a small waterproof box to deliver medical supplies, or collect lab tests.