Obtaining accurate and timely information from equipment in the field can require considerable resource. One such situation concerns our Rwanda project where the use of new water filters and cookstoves in rural villages has to be closely monitored but there are many other examples where water testing kits and other equipment are being used.
Working with our partners at the SWEETLab at Portland State University, SWEETSense™ technology can provide objective, quantitative and continuous operational data on the usage and performance of equipment in a variety of situations. The data are then directly integrated into SWEETData™, an internet database presenting summary statistics on performance and usage of the monitored technologies to front-end users. Rather than infrequent engagement, such remote monitoring systems ensure that community partnerships are maintained through continuous monitoring. This approach seeks to raise the quality and accountability of these projects internationally.
DelAgua is applying this technology to its Water Testing Kits to audit their use in the field, record real time data and map positioning. This technology also provides accurate data to prove adoption and usage of equipment in our Programme in Rwanda.
Current water testing technologies to identify bacterial contamination in water supplies, including our own market leading test kit, are generally time consuming (up to 24 hours or more) and require skilled operators. From end user feedback we identified the need for a rapid microbial tester (less than 1 hour) capable of detecting species or even strains of bacteria and which would be user friendly enough to be used by unskilled persons in the field.
In collaboration with the University of Surrey we started development of Quick-Test in 2011. The aim is to identify one colony forming unit of bacteria in 100ml of water sample. The technology behind Quick-Test has far wider application beyond water testing. It can be adapted to satisfy the testing requirements of many industries that have a need to identify and quantify bacterial contamination to a species or even strain level. The project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.
Early markets for Quick-Test include food manufacture, food distribution and storage, pharmaceutical production and healthcare. We aim to have our first production version for water, beverage and food testing available within the market in the next 18 months.
DelAgua allocates significant investment towards researching the latest technologies and are currently running two large scale pilot schemes to practically evaluate new technology.
Only via ‘real-life’ testing can we be sure that new design is progressive rather than a distraction. We work with a number of different partners to make sure that significant background work is carried out before we take an idea to manufacture or implementation.
Knowing that education and understanding is the key to success in technology adoption, we also consider it essential to make the potential user of any new technology core to the design at the concept stage.