At first glance, a game of old-fashioned tic-tac-toe seems like an unlikely starting point for a discussion of cutting-edge technology, but the players in this instance were somewhat unusual. On one side of the board were children at Dutch hospital Maxima Medisch Centrum in Eindhoven. On the other, was a drone, delivering its noughts and crosses to precise locations on the grid thanks to communication via an LED lighting system.
The project was a collaboration between Philips Lighting and Blue Jay – a multi-disciplinary team of top students from the University of Eindhoven, whose mission is to show the world just what indoor drones are capable of. According to Ties van Loon, the current Team Manager of Blue Jay, there are three key future applications in the field of healthcare.
“You can potentially use drones for logistics in hospitals,” he says. “They can help fetch equipment for a doctor during surgery, for example. The second use is for entertainment, which is reflected in this tic-tac-toe project. The third use might be in monitoring patients – perhaps ensuring that someone with dementia doesn’t wander out of the clinic.”