An indigenously developed device to detect traces of ammonium in the environment was unveiled at the Indian Technology Congress on Wednesday.
A microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) lab-on-a-chip (LOC) sensor will be integrated onto a quad-rotor micro air vehicle (MICAV) to detect ammonium, which is commonly used in explosives, in the atmosphere.
The sensor, which is the first-of-its-kind developed in India, is part of the national programme on micro air vehicles (NP-MICAVs) which is being overseen by the city based National Design and Research Forum (NDRF).
The sensor developed by Anna University, Foundation for Educational Excellence in collaboration with Concord University, Canada, was handed over to the NDRF at the Congress.
“The LOC weighs just about 200 grams and has been developed specifically for airborne application. It will be integrated to a quad-rotor MICAV (that featured in the Bollywood movie 3-Idiots),” said P Bharth Verma, assistant project manager, NDRF.
Verma said the quad-rotor MICAV was chosen over the conventional fixed wing MICAVs as they can easily criss-cross and enter inaccessible areas.
“It will also relay real time videos to the ground stations. All this can be done in a matter of just 60 seconds,” Verma said.
He added that the chip will be integrated to the quad-rotor MICAV in the coming months and a demonstration would be made before the Aeronautics Research Development Board (AR&DB), which is the national body for co-ordinating and funding of futuristic research and development programmes in aeronautics.
Apart from this sensor chip to detect ammonium, NDRF has also developed sensors to detect methane, carbon-dioxide and nitric oxides.