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Ulster University uses IoT tech to identify safe drinking water

  • Ulster University has developed an innovative IoT device that can quickly and cheaply check if water is safe to drink.

    Around 30% of people worldwide have no access to safe drinking water, according to United Nations reports. Developing nations are the worst affected by safe water availability, with almost 1,000 children dying from preventable waterborne illnesses each year.

    Ulster University has been applying the latest technology to solve this global problem through ita SAFEWATER initiative. The group has now produced an innovative IoT system that can quickly and cheaply assess whether water is safe to drink, a solution designed for the unique circumstances in developing nations

    The sensor measures the presence of faecal contamination, a primary indicator of water safety that is usually time consuming and expensive to test for. Economically poorer countries often lack the lab infrastructure to perform this testing on water sources, and can't give advisory notices to the public to tell them if the water is unsafe.

    SAFEWATER is currently developing autonomous IoT devices that will perform the water safety tests themselves and report findings without the need for highly trained staff or labs. It uses a distributed cloud infrastructure that decentralises control and allows a community to monitor its own water supply rather than relying on a government agency or central water authority.

    Professor Byrne commented: “Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502,000 diarrheal deaths each year (WHO, 2019). Together with our partners in Latin America we are taking a transdisciplinary approach to tackle this global issue. We are combining the expertise of engineers, microbiologists, chemists, nutritionists, and social scientists to develop new technologies and educate and empower communities.” 

    Source: Written based on press release

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