Friday, May 27, 2016

Testing water devices in Bangalore

This afternoon we met with AKVO, a small startup company working to develop a product that will allow people to easily test water samples for contamination.
This afternoon we met with AKVO, formerly known as Ternup or Caddisfly. This is a small startup company working to develop a product that will allow people to easily test water samples for contamination. This could be fluoride, cadmium, arsenic, pesticide, or soil contamination.

Currently, AKVO is working on products to test all of these. Their device uses your smartphone to take pictures of the water sample. A reagent is added to the water sample and will change color in the presence of the contaminant. The water sample is in a small canister that will attach to your smartphone over the camera. Within a minute, pictures will be taken of the sample and the camera flash will penetrate the sample. Depending on how dark the color is, the camera flash light will scatter in the sample, determining the concentration. This data is sent to an app on your phone via Bluetooth, and a specific concentration will appear on the app (with about 10% error). To understand how his technology works, we spent the afternoon testing various water samples that were collected throughout the trip. Fluoride was tested in restaurant water that we drank and water from a local slum that we visited. Both samples had fluoride concentrations low enough that the results were not worrisome. It was interesting to see what devices AKVO was working on and what their business model was.

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