Tour of the Physics Department’s drone equipment
I visited the laboratory of the Department of Physics with members of the Drone Research Group (website: Drone Research Group at JKUAT). The chair of the Physics Department, who is a member of the drone group, suggested that they show us the drone equipment that the Physics Department owns. This equipment was donated to JKUAT in 2021 by GRSS (Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society), a part of IEEE. (Reference: Varsity Receives Drones from American based Engineers’ Society to aid Research)
As to why drone equipment was provided to the Physics Department, it has to do with the course offerings in JKUAT’s Physics Department.
- Control and instrumentation
- Renewable energy
In course 1, the research deals with scientific observations using laboratory-made electronic circuits, and previously used high-altitude balloons and Cansat. The use of a new drone will allow for a wider range of observations, and it was deemed appropriate to provide this to the department.
When I first heard about “instrumentation and control”, I wondered why this course is under the Department of Physics. I understand that it is positioned under the School and Pure and Applied Science in terms of designing and implementing electronic circuits for scientific observation and acquiring data. There still seems to be a graduation project where students try to implement a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) system, which I assume this is rather a field of electronic engineering, by the way. In the Renewable energy field (2), for example, students are working on fluid flow simulations around wind turbines. And the geophysics such as the gravity survey for geothermal power generation (3) sounds unique to Kenya, because about half of Kenya’s electricity is generated by geothermal power generation.