RENO, Nev. With a new contract from the U.S. Army, the University of Nevada, Reno is partnering with NevadaNano to develop a robotic flying vehicle that can be used for environmental health and safety monitoring of large areas.
The project combines the autonomous systems expertise of the University with the unique sensor technology NevadaNano has developed for chemical sensing.
"A flying robotic platform capable of performing this type of in-flight analysis is not currently available," Kam K. Leang, mechanical engineering associate professor and the University's lead scientist on the project, said.
The goal of the proposed program is the development of a flying robot with integrated chemical sensing, inter-unit communication and the potential for self-powering. It will be able to "swarm" with other similar units to monitor, collect and analyze samples while in flight and relay data immediately.
The flying robotic platforms Leang has been developing in the lab may evolve to a highly versatile system to carry a number of payloads, beginning with this autonomous environmental detection system, for a wide variety of applications. NevadaNano's sensor system, with a sensor chip about 1 mm x 1 mm currently installed in a housing about the size of a shoebox, is rapidly being reduced in size and will eventually be about the size of a deck of cards, with the sensing system integrated into the construction of the flying robot.
"This project is an ideal collaboration," Ben Rogers, the project leader at NevadaNano, said. "We have the University's world-class research labs and researchers a few minutes away, so our pace of collaboration is accelerated. We can meet face-to-face daily if we want. This type of program is designed to leverage the University's facilities, expertise and personnel, and accomplish more than a small business might on its own."
NevadaNano is a start-up company that grew out of the Universit
|Contact: Mike Wolterbeek|
University of Nevada, Reno