Drones as a PubMed search finds 255 but some relate to bees.
unmanned aerial vehicle* OR unmanned aerial system* OR uav* OR unmanned aircraft
UAV is also "unicuspid aortic valve", which will be a few of that total. UAS is another possible acronym, but this is also a gene, so adding it into the search multiplies the number of results by 10!
If you want to buy a small drone, with a range of a few metres and a battery life of a few minutes, you can do so at the Apple Store (I now know, following a trip to one for something else!).
Many of the drones in the news at the moment are there because of their military uses, but they do have medical, health and scientific uses. Here are some, from a quick scan of those PubMed results:
- Sampling the air, or dust;
- Mapping weeds, tern colonies, chimpanzee nests;
- Transporting laboratory specimens or drugs;
- Monitoring environmental hygiene;
- Major incident management;
- Monitoring infectious diseases.
One reference uses the term "multicopter", an unused synonym - adding 1 more to the 310!
Two people in academia with interests in drones are Noel Sharkey, of the University of Sheffield, and Andy Miah, of the University of Salford.