Aberdeen medical student builds drone prototype to deliver medical supplies to injured hillwalkers

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Outdoors enthusiast Sophie Barrack took on the challenge of finding out what medical supplies would be most useful in an emergency in a rural location, and if it would be possible to deliver these by drone.

After sending a survey to mountain rescue volunteers, employees and NHS healthcare professionals, she researched, designed and built a prefabricated drone.

Ms Barrack now intends to test whether it could carry the weight of emergency items after the top two answers were medication and medical equipment.

She said: “My main interest was in finding out whether healthcare and mountain rescue workers thought a drone could be used to deliver essential medication and equipment in remote areas, which – according to my survey – they do.

“I then wanted to get a rough idea of a ‘top five things’ that such a drone should have in their opinions.

“The building of the drone was a bit of an afterthought but, if nothing else, it adds a physical element to the project which can hopefully kick-start discussions, as well as giving us an idea as to how big and powerful a drone would be required.”

Medication delivered could include items such as painkillers, insulin, an EpiPen or fluids while medical equipment could include glucose testing equipment, tourniquets, dressings, catheters, oxygen and defibrillators.

The survey found that 86% of respondents thought drones could be used in healthcare in Scotland while 73.5% thought drones could be used in emergency healthcare and 71.4% thought they could be used in a remote and rural setting.

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