‘Pandemic drone’ designed to monitor and detect people with infectious conditions could limit the spread of coronavirus in hotspots
- Drone will be fitted with technology to spot people who may have coronavirus
- It uses sensors and computer vision to monitor people’s vitals
- The drone is also able to spot people sneezing and coughing in a crowd
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Experts are set to unleash a ‘pandemic drone’ to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
The drone is fitted with sensors and computer vision, allowing it to monitor and detect people with infectious respiratory conditions.
The system could also identify people sneezing and coughing in crowds, offices, airports, cruise ships, aged care homes and other places where groups of people may work or congregate.
Its creators hope to deploy the drone in six months and in various hotspots where ‘the most amount of detection is currently required.’
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Experts are set to unleash a ‘pandemic drone’ to help limit the spread of coronavirus. The drone is fitted with sensors and computer vision, allowing it to monitor and detect people with infectious respiratory conditions (stock photo)
The pandemic drone is being developed in collaboration with the University of South Australia (UniSA) and drone maker Draganfly.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has sensors and computer vision technology that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates of people in a crowd, along with spotting those coughing and sneezing.
Researchers involved say the drone demonstrated that heart rate and breathing rate can be measured with high accuracy within 16 to 32 feet of people, using drones and at distances of up to 165 feet with fixed cameras.
And it uses special algorithms to spot someone sneezing and coughing.
The virus is spread from person to person and has now infected more than 531,000 with more than 23,000 deaths reported around the world. The drones creators hope to deploy the drone in six months and in various hotspots
The UniSA team led by Defence Chair of Sensor Systems Professor Javaan Chahl believes the UAV could be a viable screening tool for the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘It might not detect all cases, but it could be a reliable tool to detect the presence of the disease in a place or in a group of people.’
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?
Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.
- The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
Although having a runny nose doesn’t rule out coronavirus, it doesn’t thus far appear to be a primary symptom.
Most people only become mildly ill, but the infection can turn serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.
In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause:
- Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
- Low appetite, energy and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)
- Confusion (more common in elderly people)
- Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has occasionally been a complication.
Avoid people with these symptoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before going to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possible exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.
Chahl says the technology was originally envisaged for war zones and natural disasters as well as remotely monitoring heart rates of premature babies in incubators.
‘Now, shockingly, we see a need for its use immediately, to help save lives in the biggest health catastrophe the world has experienced in the past 100 years.’
Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell says his company will use its sensor, software and engineering expertise to work with UniSA to integrate and deploy for government, medical and commercial customers.
‘We are honored to work on such an important project given the current pandemic facing the world with Covid-19. Health and respiratory monitoring will be vital not only for detection but also to understand health trends,’ Mr Chell says.
The coronavirus began in China December 2019 and has since spread to nearly every country in the world.
The virus is spread from person to person and has now infected more than 531,000 with more than 23,000 deaths reported around the world.
Drones have become very helpful during the pandemic, as many countries are using the technology to monitor people who defy lockdown or quarantine advice.
The Chula Vista Police Department in San Diego, California has invested in two drones that cost $11,000 each and plan to fit the devices with speakers and night vision cameras after last week Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
China had also used drones to spray disinfectant over villages and cities that have been hit by coronavirus.
Officials had hoped that the disinfectant will prevent the killer virus from spreading further although it is not yet known how effective this will be.
One villager in the city of Heze, Shandong, offered his personal drone which was used to disinfect an area of 172,000 square feet in a single morning.
The unmanned aerial vehicles are proving to be a much faster method of delivering public hygiene than traditional means either on foot or by lorry.
Drones have become very helpful during the pandemic. China used a drone to spray disinfected on streets and villages. Officials had hoped that the disinfectant will prevent the killer virus from spreading further although it is not yet known how effective this will be