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Teen Robotics Team Developing Sanitization Drone

Credit: Unsplash

A team of high schoolers are making a little something to aid clean-up efforts.

In the pandemic age, cleanliness and sanitation is at the absolutely forefront of everyone’s minds. Schools, especially, need to be cleaned from top to bottom on a regular basis, and at a much more focused level than usual. A stack of gymnasium bleachers accumulate enough nightmare-inducing crud even when there isn’t a pandemic going on, so cleaning efforts are necessitating a lot more time and money. To lessen these needs, a group of teenage tinkerers are creating a flying dispenser of cleanliness.

The Gael Force Robotics Team is a group of students from Dublin High School in Dublin, California. The team’s president, Niharika Suravarjjala, was approached by the school’s vice principal, who explained that cleanup and sanitation efforts in the school’s football stadium were taking as long as six hours after a football practice, and they were hoping the team could invent something to speed things up. The team quickly decided the best course of action would be to design a drone that dispenses sanitation spray.

“We decided to challenge ourselves to build the drone to not only keep our students safe, but try to find a cost-effective way to do it,” said Niharika.

The drone, named Technologically Effective Rapid Smart Unmanned Sanitizer, or TERSUS for short (excellent use of Latin), is a pretty straightforward affair. It can be manually piloted via a smartphone app, which the team is also developing, and deploy a targeted spray of disinfectant. The construction of the drone was funded by a GoFundMe campaign that swiftly met its $4,000 goal.

The prototype of TERSUS will be manually piloted, but the team is hoping to give it autonomous capabilities in subsequent iterations, as well as voice recognition for inputting commands. The team will need to secure FAA approval to use the drone on a regular basis, and one of the members will need a drone license to pilot it. They’ve got their work cut out for them, but it is most certainly a worthy endeavor.