Every day, more than 2,000 people die from water-borne diarrhea-related infections globally, and one in ten people don’t have access to clean water. For remote, low-resource areas of the world, current water testing equipment is bulky, expensive, difficult to use, and takes at least a day to give results.
WaterScope was founded in 2015 by a group of academics at the University of Cambridge in the UK, after they participated in the Centre for Global Equality Development i-Teams program investigating the cost of effective methods for testing water quality in the developing world.
Since then, the growing team has developed inexpensive water testing microscopes capable of identifying bacterial presence in less than six hours – four times faster than current tests available. The technology is easy to use away from laboratories and requires only a couple minutes of training.
A specially designed cartridge enables anyone to collect bacteria consistent with lab standards, allowing democratization of water testing globally. A bacterial imaging system, based on Arm technology, captures images of any bacteria in the water, further simplifying the process. It then uses machine learning to identify, count, and report the results.
Working with Oxfam and other partners, WaterScope has been educating communities in Tanzania and India to measure and remediate the quality of their drinking water with the WaterScope equipment, helping to reduce the impact of contamination.
WaterScope uses a Raspberry Pi for its imaging system, and its automatic data collection software allows for an almost real-time mapping of water sources around the globe.