By Kris Walker
Testing for water contamination onboard the ISS was inspiration for mWater.
Drinking contaminated water in developing countries is always something of a concern due to the potential of diarrheal disease; a condition that causes around 1.5 millions deaths each year among children alone.
A non for profit tech company based in the US called mWater have taken a concept used in the International Space Station by NASA to create a cost effective method to test water for contaminants.
The technology that the team at mWater has developed is a mobile phone application that can analyze water quality instantaneously and share it amongst a worldwide database.
Technology onboard the ISS was used to monitor the environment including air and water.
Using the camera option accompanied by most smartphones, the mWater app can immediately detect coliform and E.coli. This data is then shared with communities upon analysis of the sample.
Inspiration comes from the research and development of technology produced for the International Space Station by a former employee of NASA, who now happens to be one of the co-founders of mWater.
John Feighery is a former lead engineer for NASA within air and water monitoring. During his time he and his department developed a testing technique for contamination in water sources that was mobile and cost-effective due the now-surplus requirement of needing incubators to test this. This lead to the Microbial Water Analysis Kit, which was part of the Crew Health Care System Environmental System, which was deployed aboard the station.
Testing water for contamination may never be the same again with instant, shareable results.
Easy to use with GPS capabilities; the mWater mobile app is free and available for download. Recent developments within mWater have seen the company look to take their technology to Tanzania to establish a mobile-based water monitoring system. With the United States Agency for Internationl Development investing $100,000 in mWater, the tech start-up is moving quickly to implement a system that could change the water sanitation and health in developing countries.
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Image Credit: NASA, Photos.com
Further Reading: mWater, NASA