Bombings, earthquakes, and other disasters can be devastating for a community. But even after the danger has passed, there are more risks to the survivors. If the water network is destroyed, refugees and disaster victims need to rely on groundwater. Unfortunately, groundwater is often contaminated with arsenic, a toxic element that occurs naturally in the earth's crust and can cause vomiting, circulatory problems, and even cancer. That's why a group of students from Tsinghua University and University College London teamed up to create SHENDY, an inexpensive arsenic detector that refugees can use to make sure their drinking water is safe. Users just pour a small amount of water into the handheld detector, and it does the rest. The device releases three chemicals into the water, where they react with any arsenic present and turn a paper strip varying shades of yellow, depending on the arsenic concentration. The color of the strip is then sent to a smartphone where people can determine whether their water is safe to drink. Beyond being low cost, the device is also open source, so others can build upon it later. Learn more about the project in the video below.
The Arsenic Crisis In Bangladesh
20 million people have been exposed to arsenic-laced drinking water.
What's In Our Drinking Water?
Hear about what might be in city water.
Written by Curiosity Staff October 13, 2016
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