This aerial system launches Nano 33 BLE Sense darts for data collection
Sensor deployment via unmanned aerial vehicles is an interesting concept. Up until now, you’ve had two options: use a drone that drops sensors onto the ground, or one with some kind of manipulator to stick them in particular place. However, researchers at Imperial College London have been studying a third approach, which shoots sensor pods from an aerial platform like darts.
The system utilizes a compressed spring, along with a shape-memory alloy (SMA) trigger to fling the sensor pods at a nearby surface, at up to a four-meter range. The actual sensor package used here is an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense, allowing for a variety of measurements without extra hardware in hazardous environments or inaccessible locations.
Several methods of attachment were proposed, including magnets and chemical bonding, but the experiment’s research paper focuses on dart-like wood attachment, since this would require the most force.
More details on the project can be found in Imperial College London’s article and in the video below.