Eye in the sky: drone used to detect COVID-19 symptoms

Thursday, 18 February, 2021

Eye in the sky: drone used to detect COVID-19 symptoms

As the COVID-19 death toll grows and the world pins its hopes on effective vaccines, the University of South Australia, in collaboration with commercial drone manufacturer Draganfly, Inc., has developed technology that combines engineering, drones, cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor people’s vital health signs remotely.

In 2020, UniSA joined forces with Draganfly, Inc to develop technology that can remotely detect the key symptoms of COVID-19 – breathing and heart rates, temperature, and blood oxygen levels. Within months, the technology had moved from drones to security cameras and kiosks, scanning vital health signs in 15 seconds and incorporating social distancing software.

In September 2020, Alabama State University used the technology to spot COVID-19 symptoms in its staff and students and enforce social distancing. Alabama State University President, Quinton T Ross, Jr, described the software as a “godsend”.

The collaboration between UniSA and its North American drone partner has helped address health security, with the technology heralding a new era of telehealth. In the documentary below, Professor Javaan Chahl and his PhD students discuss the journey they undertook in 2020 with this technology to curb COVID-19, along with commentary from Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell and Alabama State University.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/DisobeyArt

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