Drones Mimic Dolphins to Save Lives
Dan Isaí Alvarez Ruano has been selected as part of UNICEF Innovation30: Young Innovators Shaping the Future.
Countries of Solution Deployment: Guatemala
Innovation Accelerator: Solution incubated by UNICEF Guatemala and UNICEF’s Innovation Spark Incubator
Dan Isaí, 27, is an Embedded Systems Electrical Engineer who aims to take action against climate change. His home country of Guatemala is at the forefront of the climate crisis, with the increased frequency of hurricanes, floods and landslides impacting the lives of millions of children.
Dan’s desire to do something positive to benefit his community took a positive turn when UNICEF Guatemala partnered with Aerobots, the local company Dan works for, to develop an emergency response communication system that could work even when internet and phone connections are down due to climate disasters.
As the lead electrical engineer of Aerobots, Dan Alvarez and his team created a software/hardware solution that transmits real-time risk assessment information via LoRa technology. They encode information on radio waves using chirp pulses - similar to how dolphins and bats communicate.
Dan’s Dronebots can establish a communication network between decision-makers, drone operators, and local volunteers when every other traditional network fails. The goal is to work with children and young people in isolated disadvantaged communities by training them on sending emergency information during climate disasters. “Children love technology,’’ Dan states. He used his computer programming skills to adapt a transmitter fitted for children. The team estimates that the deployment of Dronebots will reduce the time it takes to communicate data between emergency responders and government authorities by 80 per cent.
With the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) on board, the deployment of Dan’s Dronebots is on track to expand to eight regions of Guatemala where the poorest and most vulnerable communities live. In Dan’s words, “We should not be risking lives to collect emergency data that saves lives at risk. The Dronebots will do that for us.”