How clean is the air around us? The answer comes from Dr. Puškarić's laboratory

Dr. Staša Puškarić has been teaching Environmental Science courses at RIT Croatia and sharing his vast knowledge and cool sciency ideas with RIT's students for 17 years! When he's not teaching, you can find him in his garage, fixing or building something – from a guitar to a drone that measures the quality of air!

After many tests, on November 23rd, prof. Puškarić and his students from the Robotics club went to Ivanić Grad airport to conduct their first programmed autonomous drone flight. Even with the winds of 21 km/h the flight was perfect. The drone in this story is actually the first drone equipped with very precise CO2 and SO2 sensors and it is unique because it is equipped with top micro sensors available on the market. 

How does it work? Prof. Puškarić explains: "Particle analyzer is measuring the concentration of three classes of particles in the air known to be harmful for our health. Besides oxygen, temperature and humidity, it gives us accurate concentrations of CO2 and SO2 and we are hoping to add a newly developed NOx sensor. Furthermore, it has LED lights that change color with changing air quality. We can have visual indication about the quality of air when drone is in the air. The drone is actively connected to the internet and sends live stream of all data to our server which can be directly monitored by the smartphone application developed by our faculty and students.”

The role of students in the project, was very important, according to prof. Puškarić. He says that they contributed immensely in all stages of development, and were particularly focused on programming, data analysis, database development, web design and app design.

So, what is the next step? „We are starting the collaboration with the Institute for Medical Research in Zagreb in which we will be using our drones to carry certified radiological sensors with which we will be measuring radioactivity on different locations in Croatia. ", says prof. Puškarić „We're very excited about this. And we will keep you posted! "

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