Although designed for urban setups, the Medicine Delivery Drone’s main focus is on urban residents who cannot step out on their own to buy medicines. The drone, designed specifically for carrying pills, can travel between a pharmacy and a residence, dropping off life-saving medicines without any effort on the part of the patient.
The drone was designed as a response to the strict Zero Covid policy instituted in China, where lockdowns are imposed to help curb the virus, often affecting the ability for people with serious ailments to step out and buy medicines. In such situations, the drone does the job for them, fulfilling prescription requirements by shuttling between nearby pharmacies and the recipients. “This is a convenient drone based on air delivery of drugs in the post-epidemic period”, says designer Afu. “It has functions such as carrying drugs and contactless distribution.”
The fleet of drones works in partnership with pharmacies through a smartphone app that also tracks prescriptions as well as fulfills orders. The drone arrives at residences and automatically opens its lid to reveal the contents within. All the user has to do is lift the contents out of the drone and the lid shuts automatically. The drone then takes off, traveling back to the pharmacy for a battery charge and to fulfill the next order.
The drone boasts a relatively compact design, measuring 33 cm or a little more than a foot across. The body of the drone is hollow, allowing it to hold up to two packets of medicines. The delivery drone uses a set of cameras as eyes, being able to navigate spaces comfortably, although the designer took the unusual route of making the drone foldable, which seems like an unnecessary feature. This also means the rotors don’t come with guards that protect it against accidents, or the recipients against potential injury from spinning fans.
For those that take a lot of pills and medicine every day for maintenance of various diseases and conditions, having a system that will remind you to take them regularly is important. Some use apps, others are more analog with their planners and calendars, while some may need the help of other people to remind them. But those that may have some brain-related injuries like TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury may need other systems and tools especially during their recovery stage.
Designer: Rahul Ashok Barve
This device called Re-Pill is created specifically for those that have TBI and may be suffering from cognitive issues like memory loss, attention deficit, and other problems connected to their disorder. Basically it’s an analog clock and a pill dispenser so that the user and/or the caretaker will be reminded to take their medication throughout the day. The pill containers are placed during the time they’re supposed to be taken so that it’s easy to remember and to take them out.
The clock can also be rotated when they take the pills so it will be easier to get them out. Even the containers are easy to use with the lid using a snap fit mechanism. There will be 12 containers within the analog clock so the pills can be placed at the corresponding time they should be taken. The caretaker or companion of the patient can refill the containers if there are different times and medications needed all throughout the day.
Design-wise, the analog clock is pretty basic but the pill containers surrounding it makes it unique looking. The orange color also makes it stand out while the transparent containers will also show off the different colors of the pills, which can sometimes help the patient distinguish the various medication that they’re taking. It’s a useful tool to help those that may have trouble remembering things and even digital tools like phones and apps cannot help them out.
When you reach a certain age, you will need to take vitamins and medicine to help maintain your good health. Of course, it may be too early because you are still young at heart, but one can never be prepared enough when it comes to fitness.
Someday, your meds will be your best friend. You will want to have a more proper medicine cabinet at home. And if you’re always on the go, you may need a nice medicine dispenser that will make you remember it is time to pop a pill.
Designers: Darius Fernandes, Jamie Saunders, Sebastian Gallimore, and Vincent Lacsamana
MicroMed is a concept product design that allows customized doses of medication. It is more of an advanced med dispenser as the doses are based on a user’s characteristics. Data are entered on a companion app to identify and offer the correct dose.
One advantage of the MicroMed is that you won’t need the blister packaging since it is very wasteful. Reduced waste means it is more eco-friendly for a more sustainable future. The MicroMedi also offers a refillable cartridge system, which is an ideal solution, especially for those regularly taking medication.
The MicroMed includes a reusable capsule to ensure nothing is thrown away. This way, too, stuff that usually ends up in landfills is lessened. In addition, the medicine dispenser boasts a minimalist aesthetic, so users are not intimidated to use it. Taking meds can already be stressful for some people, but this med container offers an easier and more convenient user experience.
The caps and cartridges are color-coded for easier identification. A user can easily differentiate the medications as needed. You will know if it’s time to refill because of the clear view. The dispenser is small enough for you to put in your bag. It’s perfect for everyday use and traveling because you can just slip it inside your purse or pocket.
The designers worked on this product design to respond to a recent presentation regarding the blister packaging effects. The team was aiming to help in the elimination of unnecessary packaging. Some blister packs are already recyclable, but total elimination can be more helpful.
There is a new goal to reach a circular economy in the design world. There are many principles to consider, so it’s not exactly easy to do. There are many factors to consider, plus the need to do proper research. The people behind the MicroMed did interviews and research to have an informed design process so we know this product is well-designed, innovative, and intelligent.
It doesn’t have to be all fun and games in the Metaverse, especially when its best use cases are the ones that need a different reality the most.
Thanks to a few companies that have large marketing machines, the word “Metaverse” has become muddled in hype and controversy. While the current use of the coined word might be new to our ears, the technologies that empower it have been around for quite some time now. And they aren’t always used for games or entertainment, even if that is what everyone thinks these days. In fact, one of the most frequent early adopters of these technologies come from the medical field, which continuously tests new equipment, theories, and digital experiences to help improve lives. So while mainstream media, carmakers, and social networks continue to shine the light on new ways to experience different worlds, the Metaverse, its concepts, and its applications are already sneaking their way into medical and scientific institutions, ready to take healthcare to the next, augmented reality level.
Telepresence Training and Consultation
If you ask somebody about the Metaverse today, they will either look at you as if you were a crazy person because they have no idea what it means, or they will look at you as if you were a crazy person for glorifying games and virtual worlds like Second Life. Thanks to how it has been portrayed, especially by Meta, formerly Facebook, that has become the stigma that the term and the concept will carry for the next few years. At its most basic, however, the so-called Metaverse is really nothing but a combination of AI, AR, VR, blockchain, and related technologies that try to bind the digital and the physical world together into a more coherent whole. Sometimes, even something as simple as a virtual video call is already Metaverse-worthy, with or without the goggles.
This kind of visual communication can be critical not just in keeping people socially close while physically apart but also in keeping the world turning even when locked indoors. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to resort to video calls for work and even for doctor’s appointments. Telemedicine became a thing in the past two years, but things aren’t going to stop there. With the help of VR and AR applications, medical personnel and healthcare workers can extend their reach, even when the real thing isn’t in front of them.
No, this isn’t the frightening scenario of performing surgeries remotely (we’ll get to that later) but the simple case of training personnel or even informing patients through virtual channels. Although nothing really beats the real thing, there are some pieces of information, like learning how to operate machinery, that don’t really need in-person training most of the time. And if diagrams and charts are effective in educating patients about various diseases and medical conditions, imagine how a more interactive and lifelike demonstration in the Metaverse can be more effective.
The phrase might conjure up horrific images, particularly of scenes from iconic horror films in the 80s, but digital twins are less frightening or even less dramatic than they sound. In essence, a digital twin is pretty much an exact replica of a physical thing, in this case, a person, based on real-world data. This replica can undergo hundreds of simulated changes in just minutes or even seconds that would normally take hundreds of years in real-time.
In this application, machine learning and AI take center stage over AR and VR, determining the possible results based on changing factors. To put it bluntly, a digital twin could be used as a virtual guinea pig, testing different medications and doses, different procedures, and different treatment options to see which ones will have the best possible outcome for a patient. All of these can happen in a matter of seconds, perhaps even while in the middle of an operation.
Digital twins can be used on more than just humans, of course. The same kind of high-speed trial and error can be applied to developing medicine, analyzing viruses, studying animals and plants, and anything else that can be solved with some simulations. Of course, looking at all these data as just figures and text would be boring and even painful, so 3D models can go a long way in visualizing and understanding the results of these simulations. Bonus points if you can view them in the Metaverse, too!
Thanks to Hollywood, many people probably imagine surgery in the world of AR and the Metaverse as involving doctors doing procedures miles or even countries away from the patient. While that could have life-saving benefits, we don’t really need to go that far yet to reap the benefits of the technology in the operating room. Simply being able to see more information than what’s physically in front of us goes a long way in improving our knowledge and understanding, which is really the heart of augmented reality, without the hype and sensationalism.
Doctors require a lot of imagination when working on patients, and not in the flights of fantasy kind of way. They might not have a clear view of what they’re operating on, or they have to work with microscopic materials that would be impossible to see with the naked eye. Although these professionals have been working like these for decades, that doesn’t mean things have to stay that way, especially if technology can help ease the burden.
AR-assisted surgeries have already been performed with much success, but you often don’t hear about those in contrast to news about this or that new Metaverse platform. Being able to see where to drill inside a bone or where to put a screw can make procedures faster and safer. Of course, you’ll need better AR glasses to make that happen because the current consumer models we have just won’t cut it on the operating table, pun intended.
Not everything about the Metaverse has to be visible, or at least not in its real forms. Of course, the Metaverse can be reduced down to 1s and 0s, just like any computer program, but most people that experience it will be focused on digital artifacts like VR objects. One of the “non-visible” technologies that are being associated with the Metaverse is blockchain, and despite misconceptions, it actually has the potential to protect virtual people and data, including medical records.
Blockchain has gotten a lot of flak because of its association with controversial applications like cryptocurrencies and, more recently, NFTs. Like any other tool, however, it is really agnostic. Blockchains are more concerned about keeping a record of transactions joined together by cryptography in a chain. Each node in a blockchain network contains a copy of that chain and is updated with new transactions all the time. The decentralized and cryptographic nature of blockchains makes them almost perfect for protecting data, such as sensitive medical records.
Of course, that’s the ideal scenario, but blockchains are so new to the hearing and minds of anyone outside the computing industry that its applications to things like financial and medical records are still blowing people’s, especially legislators’, minds. Given the highly sensitive nature of medical data, this might take a while before a stable and trustworthy blockchain system is accepted and put in place.
The Metaverse being about having fun and games isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when done in moderation. In fact, playing games isn’t a bad thing, despite the connotations and prejudices surrounding even just the word. People have learned long ago that games, or specifically gameful activities, can be beneficial to learning and adapting to new things. It can even help people cope with trauma or stress.
Gamification, or the application of game thinking and game mechanics to non-game activities, has been around for years now. From leaderboards to levels to high scores, these small things can give a sense of accomplishment that reinforces the new knowledge that we just gained. And since the very same technologies that are used to make games also make the Metaverse, the intersection of gamification and the Metaverse is pretty much in the bag.
NASA, for example, has enlisted a game developer that specializes in using games to train people, particularly doctors, in diagnosing and treating different conditions. The idea is to train astronauts to have enough medical knowledge in an emergency, in case it’s the onboard doctor that needs treatment. These educational tools have all the hallmarks of typical mobile games, except it trains you with serious, life-saving skills rather than just mashing the screen to get kills.
The Metaverse might sound new, but it’s actually built on old technology. AR and VR have been around for decades, but it’s only now that they’re becoming more commercially available. Blockchain technologies are finally becoming more comprehensible even to lawmakers. The psychology of games has been lurking in plain sight in productivity tools and educational materials. You just never considered them to be formal games.
The hype around the Metaverse might have many people rolling their eyes, but all that focus has some benefits. It puts a spotlight on what the Metaverse can actually do, even separate from all the social and entertainment aspects. It brings to light how these technologies have actually been working in the background in different fields, including medicine, and how the Metaverse can be used not only to improve lives but also to save them.
COVID vaccination efforts continue to gain momentum both in the US and around the world but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the pandemic woods just yet. Regular testing remains an important factor in helping slow the spread of the disease but has typi...
As much as 3D-printed organs have advanced, creating them is still a slow process that can damage the tissue. There may soon be a quicker and more effective method, however. Researchers from the University at Buffalo and elsewhere have developed a 3D...
The Human Genome Project shed light on our species in 2001, but it was a patchwork of different humans' genes that didn't really reflect humanity's genetic makeup. Flash forward 20 years, however, and science is taking a significant leap...
Uber will soon offer free rides to Walgreens clinics to help people in underserved communities receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The program is aimed at those who live in socially vulnerable areas and may not be able to easily make it to a pharmacy or clin...
Robot surgeons could one day have an easy way to mend internal injuries with minimal impact. MIT researchers have developed an “origami-inspired,” biodegradable medical patch that can be folded around a robot’s minimally invasive surgical tools to se...
Home DNA tests haven’t been as helpful to 23andMe’s bottom line as the company might like, but it could soon have the resources for more ambitious efforts. The genetics firm is becoming a publicly-traded company through a merger with Virgin’s VG Acqu...