A highly appreciated service of BICON Laboratories consists of visualization of electromagnetic (EM) fields. It is used to visualize EM-fields on printed circuit boards or equipment enclosures.
Furthermore, as an addition to our existing service, it is used to visualize large area EM-fields originating from, for instance:
Clients are generally (local) governments, electricity grid operators, whom are responsible for the construction, maintenance, management and development of the energy transport and distribution networks and telecommunications service providers, offering wireless telephony, internet or TV. These clients want insight and understanding of the course of EM-fields in certain residential areas, influences of the placement of pylons, antennas or existing buildings and obstructions. In the past, performing these measurements could be an elaborate and time consuming job.
Using the current state of technology, BICON Laboratories designed a modified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to perform these measurements autonomously. A UAV, in this case an octocopter, is an aircraft that is lifted and propelled by eight rotors. It uses an electronic control system, electronic sensors and GPS to fly, stabilize and navigate. Due to the small size and agile maneuverability, it can be flown indoors as well as outdoors with a payload of as much as 3kg. This UAV is uniquely modified with filtering to attenuate EM-fields induced by the motors, motor drives and flight control electronics. In this way it is possible to perform measurements which are not contaminated by the measurement equipment itself. The octocopter can be equipped with different measurement probes, depending on the frequency range to be covered or the field strength to be expected. It can be controlled remotely by a pilot. Furthermore, by means of GPS waypoint navigation the UAV can perform the measurements at predetermined points, direction and orientation autonomously. The waypoint grid can be rasterized rectangular, circular or any shape desirable. The data can be logged or even sent wirelessly to a base station measurement computer directly. This data can be visualized as a standard datasheet or graph, but also as an overlay on a map. In this way, differences in electromagnetic fields can be visualized and linked to a site or point of origin. Additional advantage is recognized in the fact that the measurements can be performed at different heights, directions and orientations, resulting in a 3D visualization of the EM-field.
By performing the EM-visualization measurements with an autonomous flying UAV, we achieve increasing accuracy, shorter measurement and data acquisition time. It results in quick insight into the size and shape of (3D) EM-fields over a large area.