Kollam student bags two patents for drone system for safely dropping medicines

Madhumati Anand | Photo: Manorama

The idea of efficiently distributing medicines through the air first struck Madhumati Anand while she was studying in Class 9. Instead of landing the drone every time, if the medicine packet is dropped from the air itself, the drone can work for more time, and medicines can be distributed to more places within a short time.

Madhumati was not ready to forsake the idea that struck.

She then queried and searched how medicines can be safely dropped. It was then that she came to know about the tensegrity structures through the Academic Inter-disciplinary Research Centre of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Within two years, the small yet big project of Madhumati has drawn national attention. It has now got two US patents as well.

Madhumati is a Plus-Two student of Amrita Vidyalaya, Puthiyakavu in Karunagappally near Kollam.

What is tensegrity?
Tensegrity is a combination of the words “tension” and “integrity”. It is a structural principle in architecture offers the most elegant model for illustrating how the outer surface (fascia) and internal structures work in tandem.

Bamboo and coir structure
The tensegrity structure comprises rods and coir, which absorb the shock when an article is dropped from above in the air. The students made a structure of bamboo and coir. They placed the medicine inside it and then dropped it from above.

Madhumati brought classmates Sanjula Sreekumar and Vysakh to form her team.

Sanjula Sreekumar and Vysakh | Photo: Manorama

In the first experiments, insulin and syringes were dropped from a small height. The experiments with articles weighing less than 100 gm became successful. Now their drones can carry articles weighing up to 750 gm. Even if dropped from a height of 230 feet height, the medicines and vaccines would safely land.

The patent for the invention came in May, while the patent for its practicality landed in August. The US Patent Office has granted the patent. The project received a big round of applause at the National Education Conclave held in Bangalore.

How to apply for a patent?
How can one secure a patent? R S Praveen Raj who is the principal scientist and co-ordinator of the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram, under CSIR, says: The one who makes the invention or the one who buys the right for the same from him/her can file an application for patent.

One has to fill up and file Form 1, which comprises the application for patent; Form 2, which details the specialties of the invention; and Form 18, which comprises the application for direct examination.

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