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University of Nevada, Reno joins with NevadaNano for flying robot sensor project
Date:3/6/2014

y of Nevada, Reno in 2004 with a new lab-on-a-chip technology for comprehensive detection of trace chemicals and explosives in air. The company was founded by Jesse Adams and Ralph Whitten, who, along with Ben Rogers, Steven Malekos and Lee Deal, make up the NevadaNano team partnering with Leang on the flying robot sensor.

"This is an exciting project between the University and one of our very own, home-grown companies," Leang said. "The outcomes will impact Nevada's economy as well as help make the state and the University a leader in the field of autonomous systems."

The $150,000 Phase I proof-of-concept contract from the U.S. Army, titled "Autonomous Broad Spectrum Environmental Sentinels," is a Small Business Technology Transfer, or STTR, program. STTRs are federally funded programs that support companies pursuing innovative technologies.

In Phase I the team will complete several tasks:

  • have a robot hovering autonomously with a dummy sensor load

  • have a functioning chemical threat sensor

  • demonstrate the working, combined robot/sensor system

  • final design of the combined drone/sensor prototype to be built in Phase II

Phase I is expected to be completed in July. Based on the success of Phase I and availability of funds, Phase II will follow with construction and field testing of a prototype. A final product would be completed in Phase III.

The final platform will detect environmental threats in vapor form using interchangeable, onboard sensors. Utilizing the real-time data collected and analyzed by these sensors, the unit will be capable of swarming with other units during surveillance of a given area to, for example, localize and profile a contaminant source, such as toxic industrial chemicals and materials, semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds (pesticides, ammonia and explosives), and chemical or biological agents.

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Contact: Mike Wolterbeek
mwolterbeek@unr.edu
University of Nevada, Reno
Source:Eurekalert  

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