MSc thesis subject: Design study of a bio-inspired winged sensor to be launched from a UAV

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) shipped with on-board sensors have become an effective remote sensing (RS) tool in agriculture and environmental studies.
However, the full potential of those platforms has not been yet achieved. Working with UAV it’s an added valuable point for any professional who wishes to succeed in this competitive market. Herein, you will have the opportunity to work in a novel and ambitious project with UAV and emerging remote sensing tools.

One of the challenges of Precision Agriculture (PA) is the persistent monitoring of the crop health status. The soil PH is a good indicator of the crop health because it estimates the quantity of nutrients that is available to the crop.

Currently, the PH is measured manually on the field with PH meters. Those practices are laborious and expensive. Moreover, it provides large status update delays which is unacceptable for specific time windows. The aim of this project is to carry out the design study of an alternative PH measuring approach using a winged sensor inspired in the Acer Pseudoplatanus seeds.


This will be achieved within the following steps:

  1. Review of the state-of-the art of the current soil PH measuring practices;
  2. Define system requisites and specifications;
  3. System modelling and simulation


  • Norberg, R. A., Autorotation, self-stability and structure of single-winged fruits and seeds(samaras) with comparative remarks on animal flight, Biological Review, 48: 561- 96, 1973.
  • D. Lentink, W. B. Dickson, J. L. van Leeuwen, and M. H. Dickinson, Leading-Edge Vortices Elevate Lift of Autorotating Plant Seeds, Science 324, 1438-1440 (2009)
  • E. Salcedo, C. Treviño, R. O. Vargas, and L. Martínez-Suástegui, “Stereoscopic particle image velocimetry measurements of the three- dimensional flow field of a descending autorotating mahogany seed (Swietenia macrophylla).,” J. Exp. Biol., vol. 216, no. Pt 11, pp. 2017–30, Jun. 2013.


  • UAV enthusiast
  • Willing for learning novel software and hardware tools
  • Excited to work in robotics

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring, Modelling & visualisation