How drones could improve neonatal infection control

Researchers from the University of South Australia are studying the use of drones to remotely measure patients' vital signals, according to The Lead.

Researchers believe the drones, which use advanced image-processing systems to assess heart and breathing rates from afar, could help reduce infections in neonatal care.

"The norm is to stick electrodes on children to measure heart rates," project supervisor Javaan Chahl, PhD, a sensory systems professor at the university, told The Lead. "Without any ill-intention, sometimes doctors in developing countries would reuse these electrodes due to a shortage of instruments. This has led to an infection control problem, where you may move skin infections from one child to the next. So, you can see a need for having a non-contact sensor."

The technology could also be used to read the vital signals of elderly patients in care facilities, people in war zones, victims of natural disasters or those stranded in remote areas.

Dr. Chahl, who has been working on the project for three years, said research will continue for at least another year.

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