UAE-based Indian teen creates drone that can save lives during natural disasters

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - The 14-year-old Indian boy went down this path as he felt compelled by the increasing number of natural disasters happening around the world.

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Sat 23 Jan 2021, 4:01 PM

At an age when most of his peers would be busy playing games on their e-devices, Dubai student Joshua Elvis Rodrigues dabbles with cutting-edge technology to create a world that is safe.

He has invented a search and rescue drone called SEARES that apparently has the potential to save the lives of thousands of people during natural disasters without any human intervention.

The 14-year-old Indian boy went down this path as he felt compelled by the increasing number of natural disasters happening around the world. He felt his innovative thinking could possibly save more lives.

“My drone is a hexacopter or a 6-rotor drone. In a situation with falling debris, a normal drone can get hit or damaged. But this type of drone frame can fly even if two of its rotors are down, meaning it has a better chance of completing the mission.”

A thermal imaging camera is attached to the base of the drone to detect people under the rubble. What makes his invention all the more relevant is that it also has a data of dimensions of all the missing people.

He added: “It has Artificial Intelligence and the victim's body dimensions are uploaded to the interface. It then cross-references the data with the camera to find survivors. There are paraboloids at the front and back to decrease air resistance.”

It is also noteworthy that the award-winning inventor’s drone is energy-efficient too.

“A solar panel is added as demand for too many batteries will require the excessive mining of lithium which has harmful effects on the environment, and LED lights to save energy, compared with normal lights and this will aid the people controlling the drone to see it in dark or dusty conditions,” pointed out the Year 10 student of Gems Wellington International School.

With a passion for engineering, Joshua spends hours breaking open unused electronic devices to see what those are made of.

The teenager said: “I used to watch TV shows where they refurbished cars by replacing all of the inner parts. My parents have always been very supportive. They never objected saying that I should not break open a device because they might need it later. When my school organised the weekend drone classes, I thought of enrolling into it as I knew it would be an opportunity for me to learn about something new. During the sessions, I really enjoyed learning about the different parts of a drone, the physics of how it flies and how it moves.”

Joshua persevered for long hours surfing the internet and reading reports of different companies who specialised in making drones.

Throwing light on his recent win among 200 students in the ‘Drone in Schools’ competition, he contended:, “The participants were from four different countries. When my drone won the first place, the feeling was amazing and I was proud of myself for accomplishing something like this. I won a EasyThreed Mini 3D Printer, which is very helpful for me because I can 3D print my drone and other designs as I keep modifying and working those further.”

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