Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING 32 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 Not only can drones serve as eyes in the sky, but they can be eyes on the sky as well—detecting and characterizing pollution in the air. A widening array of smaller sensors, including a new lens-less microscope, are enabling researchers around the world to fly to plumes and other concentrations of contaminants, gathering air samples and in some cases analyzing them, literally, on the fly. by Charles Q. Choi Photo courtesy of UAF Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI). A ir pollutants known as particulate matter are a complex mixture of mi- croscopic solids and liquid droplets with some particles—such as dust, dirt, soot or smoke—large enough or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Other particulates are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope. Now researchers are ex- panding their ability to study even the smallest particulates using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to carry such instruments into the sky and analyze what is in the air we breathe. Once inhaled, particulate matter can dam- age the lungs and heart and cause serious health effects, "even cancer," said Aydogan Ozcan, a professor of electrical and com- puter engineering and bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ozcan's lab has long worked on imaging techniques for environmental applications. Their research yielded novel lens-less micro- scopes, where samples are directly placed over imaging chips with no optical components be- tween them for compact, high-throughput and cost-effective imaging, Ozcan said. FIGHTING AIR POLLUTION ON THE FLY

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