Project #41: Rapid E. coli presence detector

Invention Coach:

Robert L. Read

Public Inventor(s):

Shreya Bhatia

Motivation:

In volunteering for Engineers Without Borders, we learned of the critical need to evaluate water for fecal contamination in remote field locations without laboratory-style equipment. Shortening the time to quantitatively measure fecal contamination would help in providing clean water to the developing world, and might even save lives in disaster relief situations.

Story:

Based on work begun by Anjan Contractor and many volunteers from the Greater Austin Chapter of Engineers without Borders, Robert L. Read form Public Invention led a team of EWB volunteers who constructed an open-source incubator that is fully battery powered. We always try to publish our work; this project is published in the Journal of Humanitarian Engineering. (http://jhe.ewb.org.au/index.php/jhe/article/view/127). That work let us test water in the field, but still requires 48 hours.

Currently, with the help of Shreya (a public invention volunteer), a new volunteer, Public Invention has carried forward researching ways to reduce this time as much as possible, hopefully to within 8 hours. (Without EWB.)

Status:

Highly active

Skills Needed

Ability to learn about micro-biology, basic micro-electronics, basic optics and microscopy. Probably use Arduino. Electronic circuits. Some basic making craft required.