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Science Makers: drones for science

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Andrew Jonathan Balmer.


Science Makers is a monthly event to discuss and build low-cost, DIY and open hardware for science and education.

This month we’re looking at the hot topic of drones, which are dropping in price and allowing more and more researchers to consider aerial studies which would previously have been prohibitively expensive. Drones are revolutionary in offering a fast and efficient way of collecting geological, atmospheric and wildlife data from above. Able to be equipped with on-board GPS navigation, sensory equipment, and even autopilots, many scientific groups are starting to catch on to the growing trend, with drones fast becoming the latest indispensable technology in many areas of science!

Hear from researchers building and using drones for science and get hands-on in the afternoon working on a project.

12:30 – Presentations and demos

Tom Swinfield – Conservation Scientist at RSPB

Working within the heavily degraded Harapan rainforest in Sumatra, Tom works on finding cost-effective, research-driven solutions to direct management of the forest. Part of his work involves optimising survey techniques to collect the best data possible, for which he has regularly utilises drones.

Nigel Butcher – Technical Development Officer at RSPB

Nigel organises the design and development of electronic devices for use in avian research undertaken by the RSPB . He has a particular focus on remote monitoring equipment and has experience working on drones for use in the field.

David Coomes – Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

David leads a research group engaged in conserving biodiversity, with a focus on forest conservation and ecology. His group regularly utilises drone technology to measure carbon storage in forests.

13:30 – Pizza (£4 suggested donation)

14:30 – Making!

Hands-on drone project TBC

You are also welcome to work on your own projects.

This talk is part of the Engineering Biology Interdisciplinary Research Centre series.

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