Brief description of objective
Low cost water quality analysis
Develop a software app that compliments cheap, safe, user-friendly and robust tools for water quality analysis.open hardware solution for water quality monitoring.
Challenge and problem statement
@indiebio is the originator of this challenge. @Gien is submitting the idea of building software tools to the Open Hack offer to build open source apps to support the water crisis.
During the water crisis, water quality needs to be tested to ensure human health is not at risk. The crisis is causing citizens to take water management into their own hands.This increases the health risk, especially of home treatment and consuming water from springs not tested by the City of Cape Town. A system needs to be developed that results in low cost testing and yields rough quick answers.
Main part of the document
Testing water for drinking water quality is complicated, need many tests and a contextual understanding. There are several groups of components potentially present in water, each needing their own special test:
- Tastes and odours
- pH and alkalinity
- Total dissolved solids
- Toxic inorganics
- Iron and Manganese
This challenge is about water analysis, but it’s really about guiding the public to learn about water, the risks associated with water and equip ourselves in making our own risk assessments. When it comes to water analysis there is no silver bullet.
For in the field analysis we have specific criteria, like measuring specific metabolites (think lactic acid or pH for cheese making, for example, or alcohol and sugar content in beer brewing).
The goal is an android software app that interfaces to open source hardware for testing water quality such as:
- Electronic: Sensors, Probes, ‘hacking’ – monitoring with e.g. Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s, hacking, fixing, making new from old equipment. This includes smart probes: Online or sim-enabled remote probes that can sample/measure dissolved oxygen, pH, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, salinity and voltage (if it runs on battery/solar power)
- Biosensors: Using biology to give a qualitative or quantitative signal, including the miniSASS, microbial cell counts, enzyme based processes etc
- Green chemistry kits: aquarium kits, swimming pool tests, make your own kits, dedicated kits like the EarthEcho kit etc
- And a special category
- Photography: With special interest in the microscopic, using e.g. USB microscopes, the Foldscope – not just for analysis
- community water activists
- water system installers
- citizen scientists
- city water and sanitation workers
The city of Cape Town has funding available for technology solutions for the crisis. This app may be fundable. Ask @Ianpat if Sara has provided us with that funding website yet.
- Robust – how finicky is the solution? Do you need a working knowledge of black magic to keep it working?
- Repeatable – if we do the exact same thing three times, will we get the same answer?
- Applicable in a Range of operation – what concentration ranges (for example) does this solution work well in, is this a useful range?
- … probably more to come
- references: aquasavvy.co.za/analysis/
@RicardoRug has university researchers / students who are interested in collaborating with Open Hack on this hack.