23 year old Monica Abarca invented a drone that detects air pollution and radiation

At just 23 years old, Peruvian engineer Monica Abarca has already hit world class standards as a specialist in mechatronics.

For her university thesis, she invented a drone with systems for air quality and ionising radiation measurements. With air contamination at dangerous levels in many places in the world, this drone has the capacity to save as much as one million lives.

Read more: Air Pollution: Get The Facts

The idea for the impressive invention was born in 2014, winning her second place in the Awards for Technological Innovation in the Mining and Energy Sector. Now a reality, the drone is able to measure five different air pollutants and dust particles, as well as implementing a measuring system for ionising radiation (alpha, beta, and gamma radiation).

“My passion is engineering, creating, giving solutions to problems. My motivation is my family. I want them to be proud of me, especially my mum who always encouraged me to follow my dreams.”
- Monica Abarca

The drone is a dynamic vehicle, able to fly into different areas, climates, and altitudes to take measurements. But it is in industry where the drone's applications are really effective as it can detect and measure contamination from the mining industry, industrial factories, oil refineries, and agricultural areas, protecting workers from possible harmful air contaminants and radiation.

In Abarca's first model alone, the drone can fly to a height of 500m for a duration of ten minutes. However, Abarca is working on a second model which will see a 30 minute flight duration and a camera attached to aid exploration.

We can expect great things in Monica Abarca's future!

Read this next: Eco-drones are the new in the sky

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Anthea Batsakis Guest Writer, Former Social Media Intern Suggest an article Send us an email

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