Andrew Foy and Bernd Kuennecke, professors of Geospatial Science launched a balloon-based remote sensing platform for the first time at RU's Earth Day Festival. The balloon and sensors which include a high resolution full frame camera and thermal infrared camera will be used for local scale phenology studies, forensic sciences research, emergency response and to photograph campus events.
The balloon is capable of flying up to 1000 feet and transmits the pictures and videos via Wi-Fi to a receiver on the ground. Imagery is seen in real-time, and the sensors are controllable from the ground enabling the operator to pan, zoom and tilt the camera to focus on specific areas of interest and adjust for wind.
The project was funded through a multi-disciplinary grant and CSAT to encourage collaboration and student/faculty research. The balloon was successfully launched, but due to high wind gusts and the threat of thunderstorms, imagery was not collected on the maiden launch.
It took three attempts to get the camera platform stabilized and the balloon flying correctly.