Few things make life more enjoyable than good health. We’ve certainly come a very long way since the Ancient Greeks, who could only plead with Apollo to cure their plagues and ailments! So to what do modern people owe their healthier lives? Technology. Below are three fascinating health technologies that have improved life in modern societies and have the potential to do even more.
One of the most impactful innovations was undoubtedly the vaccine. First invented and implemented by Edward Jenner in 1796, his remarkable invention curbed one of the most terrible diseases ever known to humankind: smallpox. After just 9 days of having the smallpox vaccine administered to him, an eight-year-old boy by the name of James Phipps was able to first battle with the symptoms and then fully recover, never contracting the illness again. It is estimated that between 430BC and 1979 AD, 60 million people had died as a result of smallpox. Although it didn’t completely remove the disease because there are many places in the world without access to vaccination, smallpox and many diseases to follow were to never again be the threats they once were.
- Online Health Services
In a busy world like ours, time is of the essence. Through use of the Internet, people can now seek medical consultations online for illnesses during study and work, gain government assistance for disabilities and receive stress counseling to help get through the day-to-day concerns of life. Never in history have people been able to seek professional help remotely at this scale. People in developing countries particularly have been restrained in their ability to receive help. By connecting people so widely, individuals who’ve never gotten the opportunity to receive these services can now seek the treatment and advice they need. Even better, they can do it quickly and inexpensively too.
- Medically-Deployed Drones
Drones have a variety of uses. During the First and Second World Wars, they were used for target practice and surveillance. Now, they can be used as a tool for delivering medical aid to those in need. In 2008, a variety of ex-spy planes were re-deployed as couriers for delivering medical samples and supplies to remote regions. Through the development efforts of Denel Dynamics, the drones were able to carry 500 grams of cargo. “That’s enough to carry many blood or sputum samples,” reported new scientist journalist Flora Graham. Since 2008, development on ever more capable drones are being developed. In 2013, it was reported by Forbes that Delft University had developed prototype drones capable of carrying defibrillators to victims in need. Since then, others have praised the “Ambulance Drone” for being a viable potential alternative to ambulances across the world. During test flights from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, its delivery time was compared to that of a traditional ambulance. Across 18 flights, the drone’s time from dispatch to arrival was 5 minutes and 21 seconds, compared to the ambulance’s 22 minutes, making it an exciting innovation in health technology.