Date of Award
Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2015.
Access to basic healthcare is a major persisting problem around the globe, especially in rural parts of the world. One of the many facets of this problem is access to vaccine treatment. The transportation and storage of vaccines at the proper temperature is an issue that is still being solved and improved upon today. One of the common solutions to this problem is the use of passive coolers such as ice packs and other refrigerants. The potential issue with passive cooling is that the temperature cannot be actively controlled. This is evident, as many vaccines are wasted due to incorrect storage temperature. Additionally, these products are generally bulky in size. In order to solve both the issue of transportation and storage, we designed an active cooling system using thermoelectric modules that keep vaccines and blood samples at the proper storage temperature range of 2-8°C. This device was designed to be transported by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and is equipped with a temperature control system as well as a battery pack. This delivery system was conceptualized and fabricated by the SkyPort social enterprise project, a group of mechanical engineers split into teams to focus on different aspects of the system. As the team responsible for the payload, we developed a device that stores up to 6 vaccine vials and 3 blood sample vacutainers at a temperature of 5°C. The payload operates with a feedforward loop, controlled by the temperature of the chamber and environment. Our design operates in ambient temperatures of 40°C for over 10 hours. The SkyPort UAV is a viable and innovative alternative to vaccine delivery because it does not rely on ground transportation infrastructure. In addition, the temperature control system maintains the vaccines and blood samples at the required temperature range, ensuring that they remain safe during transport. This is still a proof-of-concept design and can be improved upon further to produce a refined product. The device can be improved in terms of efficiency and manufacturability in addition to user interface.
Gee, Madison; Lopez, Hector; and Magaña, Victor, "SkyPort: payload: medical cooler for the skyport UAV" (2015). Mechanical Engineering Senior Theses. 40.