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For air pollution monitoring, a unique “lab-on-a-drone” technology has emerged that has the potential to revolutionize the field.
Asthma and other illnesses may develop as a result of air pollution, which is a severe health risk. As a result, reliable and ongoing monitoring is now more important than ever.
According to the American Chemical Society, this discovery is especially important in the fight against health problems brought on by air pollution.
New “Lab-on-a-Drone” can Detect and Monitor the Air Pollution in Real-Time
Researchers from the Federal University of Uberlandia and Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil have created a “lab-on-a-drone” device that can directly detect the pollutant level in the air, such as the unpleasant hydrogen sulfide gas.
This typical monitoring equipment is placed close to the ground and may overlook toxins that move with the air. Although hovering in midair, this newly designed equipment, which resembles a floating laboratory, has the ability to detect and analyze contaminants, including the unpleasant hydrogen sulfide gas.
A hazardous air pollutant, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gas that has a vile smell similar to rotten eggs. Researchers highlighted that although it can be found naturally in sources like well water and volcanic emissions, it is also frequently produced as a byproduct of industrial processes in facilities like petroleum refineries and wastewater treatment centers.
It is also important to remember that the gas, because of its irritating qualities, poses health hazards when present in high amounts. The majority of the sensors used in current approaches for assessing H2S and other contaminants are ground-based.
The majority of H2S and other pollution measurement techniques now use ground-based equipment, which has limited range and use. Higher altitude measurements can be taken by satellites, but they are quite expensive.
What Steps Are Taken to Perform Real-Time Experiments?
However, unmanned drones have been employed by certain researchers to gather samples in the air, but conventional instruments still need to be used on the ground for the study.
Joo Flávio da Silveira Petruci and his colleagues at the Federal University of Uberlandia and Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil set out to create a low-cost “lab-on-a-drone” that could sample and analyze H2S gas in real-time while in the air. This innovation is a ground-breaking achievement in this area.
To validate their design, the team performed field testing at a wastewater treatment facility. At three different times throughout the day, measurements were made at altitudes of approximately 30 and 65 feet after collecting samples from the ground.
Real-time monitoring was possible because of the wireless transmission of the detecting system’s findings to a smartphone. Even though it continuously stayed within permissible ambient levels, there was a noticeable increase in H2S concentration as the drone rose in the evening.
Meanwhile, the researchers claim that this flexible technology has the potential to one day identify a variety of different contaminants. Recently, the ACS Publications released the research team’s findings.