Monday December 9, 2019

Scientists Use Drones to Detect Health of Migrating Whales in Australia

Drones allow scientists to collect samples from free-swimming whales to gather information in a safe and non-invasive way

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FILE - A humpback whale breaches off the coast at Clovelly Beach in Sydney, Australia, June 19, 2016. VOA

A water-proof drone is being used by Australian scientists to collect the highly-treasured nasal mucus of migrating whales. The snot is rich with fresh DNA, viruses and bacteria, and is collected by a drone that hovers over the blowholes of humpback whales as they embark on their epic annual journey along Australia’s east coast.

Whales, like all mammals need air, and come to the surface to breathe through a blowhole. Vanessa Pirotta, a marine biologist at Macquarie University, says that nasal mucus indicates the health of the whale.

“It is the juicy biological mixture that you see as a whale takes a breath as they surface from the water,” she said. “You often see that plume and it sounds like this like [sounds of sharp breaths] as a whale breathes because, after all, they are mammals like you and I and they have two nostrils, and it is the humpback whale that I am talking about. So as they take a breath it is a lot of lung bacteria coming out from their lungs, which we can collect to provide a snapshot of whale health.”

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Drones allow scientists to collect samples from free-swimming whales to gather information in a safe and non-invasive way. VOA

Australian researchers have attached a petri dish that is used in scientific tests to a drone which flies through the whale’s nasal mist.

“As a whale comes to take a breath — you can actually see it coming to the surface on really good weather days that is — the drone then lowers, the petri dish is then opened and the drone is flown through the densest part of the whale snot, collecting the sample in the petri dish. Now once this happens the lid is shut and the drone is flown back to the research vessel and we collect the sample to later process it in the laboratory,” said Pirotta.

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The research could help to solve one of the mysteries of another magnificent creature of the deep — the Southern right whale. Its numbers have recovered on Australia’s west coast since hunting was outlawed but its population on the eastern seaboard remains stubbornly low.

In the past studies into whale health had to rely on examining whales that were either killed or those whales that had been stranded on a beach. Drones allow scientists to collect samples from free-swimming whales to gather information in a safe and non-invasive way. (VOA)

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Research Says, Drones can Deliver Medicines Faster During Rush Hours

The researchers found that during rush hours drones could reach critically ill patients three minutes faster than paramedics

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The researchers found that Drones arrived faster than ambulances when transportation times were compared during peak rush hour in Brooklyn, New York. Pixabay

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, have the potential to save lives by delivering medicines faster than ambulances in crowded cities, especially during peak rush hours, new research has found.

“Drones, when used appropriately, represent the ideal marriage between enhanced pre-hospital care and telemedicine for our future,” said lead author Mark Hanna.

“This may prove to be profound in the unique pediatric setting.”

The researchers found that drones arrived faster than ambulances when transportation times were compared during peak rush hour in Brooklyn, New York.

If drones were equipped with two-way communication and possible life-saving interventions, they could save lives by responding to emergency conditions such as acute anaphylaxis, opiate overdose, asthma, cardiac arrest and sarin poisoning, said Hanna.

The analysis compared data for Emergency Medical Services and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight data within a zip code in urban Brooklyn, finding the drone response faster than the standard EMS ambulance response, especially during peak rush hours.

The UAV flight data was collected during actual flights recorded while flying under US Federal Aviation Administration and New York City laws in a commercially available drone, Hanna said.

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Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, have the potential to save lives by delivering medicines faster than ambulances in crowded cities, especially during peak rush hours, new research has found. Pixabay

The researchers found that during rush hours drones could reach critically ill patients three minutes faster than paramedics.

“Possible life saving interventions with first response associated with UAS can include acute anaphylaxis, opiate overdose, asthma, cardiac arrest, and sarin poisoning as these conditions have been associated with decreased mortality based on time to intervention by first responders,” said the research.

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The findings were scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana. (IANS)