BENGALURU: Gathering data from areas where there is suspected leakage of radioactive material is now less risky. An Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) can now detect nuclear radiation from a distance without having to put human lives at risk.
This UAV, developed by researchers and students of Aerospace Engineering department at IISc, can be deployed at the spot to detect radiations that have been emitted and the extent to which damage could be expected.
This was developed as part of a project that was funded by the department of science and technology, Government of India.
Fitted with sensors that can pick up beta and gamma radiations that are known to be dangerous to life, information gathered will be transmitted to a ground station that is at least 2km away. Weighing about 4kg, the UAV can fly for 60 minutes at a stretch post take off covering a range of 10km.
Speaking about the project, Dr S N Omkar, chief research scientist, control and guidance, department of aerospace engineering, said that a prototype is ready and has been tested along the Chavara coast in Kerala.
Not only can this UAV transmit real time data on the presence of radiation and its strength, but it can also relay visuals from a camera that has been fitted to it. “It will help us gather data. In case there is a leakage, rescue operations could also be aided through this,” said Dr Omkar.
The device is fitted with GPS that will gather data based on the location and GPRS that enables transmitting the perceived signals to another system.
Students working on the project explained that the UAV is designed in a fashion that it could be destroyed at the spot if it is affected by radiation. “Sometimes, if the radiation level is too high, bringing it back could prove dangerous,” said Sreehari V S, a student working on the project.
Students from the department of aerospace, electronics and mechanical engineering worked on this project for over two years now.
A drone controlled by Brain signals
Yet another UAV designed by IISc functions based on electric signals captured by the brain. With the signal of one’s brain, the UAV moves in the desired direction. An encephalogram, a device that appears like a headset, gathers data and sends it to the computer which later converts it into commands for the drone to move.