You are probably wondering how in the world drones can prevent diseases, right? Bugs carry diseases, and therefore to prevent these diseases these bugs have to be caught and analyzed. This way we can intervene before the infections become an epidemic for humans or wildlife.
Drone disease prevention
The researchers expect that it will take several years to complete all the elements of the research. But, they say, Project Premonition could eventually allow health officials to get a jump start on preventing outbreaks of a disease like dengue fever or avian flu before it occurs, whether or not it is a disease spread by mosquitoes. It will do that by relying on what Jackson calls “nature’s drones” – mosquitoes – to look for early signs that a particular illness could be on the move (microsoft.com).
Although you wouldn’t expect it; mosquitos are the most dangerous animal on the planet because of the many diseases it may carry and transfer. Mosquitos suck blood from multiple organisms, if one of these organisms is infected, mosquitos can potentially spread this. This makes mosquitos threatening for wildlife, as well as humans. Therefore, Microsoft has come up with a way to efficiently catch mosquitos at low cost. And in order to do this efficiently, microsoft has chosen to incorporate drones in this process.
Usually people only learn about an epidemic whenever someone gets sick. The fact an epidemic can be forecasted will be highly beneficial to society. That is what Project Premonition stands for. A system that aims to detect infectious disease outbreaks before they become widespread, with the goal of preventing major health disasters. This allows us to prepare for disease outbreaks. Imagine the impact this system may potentially have on our society. A huge outbreak can bring along many health- and economical related issues. It is great that drones can be a part of this prevention system.
Mosquito traps are used to capture the bugs. However, this trap is not working very efficient yet. Researchers prefer using dry ice as bait, but this isn’t available in every remote research area. Therefore alternative methods like placing the traps near chickens have been used.
The drones are used to carry these traps so these don’t have to stand in one place all the time. Once the mosquitoes have been collected, the next challenge is to analyze them for microbes and viruses that could pose a threat to humans.
It is expected that it will be very difficult to figure out which of the viruses they identify in mosquitoes are a threat, but he also says such a system holds incredible promise for preventing outbreaks.