Water Canary Device to Tract Global Water Problems

Posted by GIS talk On Friday, July 15, 2011
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The GPS-based device Water Canary is a fast, networked, water-­testing device that radically reduces the amount of time, expense, and skill required to test untreated or inadequately treated water for pathogens.

The ability to test water quickly and accurately is a missing link in evidence-based humanitarian response. In the ongoing race against the waterborne illnesses that claim 3 million lives annually, the Water Canary Team is dedicated to developing the water testing technology that drives international public health and disaster relief efforts.

The Technology
The Water Canary’s exclusive use of patented spectral technology reduces to seconds the testing time for disease-­causing pathogens, lowering the cost per test to a fraction of current solutions. It requires minimal training and almost no education, including literacy, for its operator. With the press of a button, anyone, anywhere in the world will know instantly whether their water is safe to drink.

In addition, the device is capable of transmitting its GPS-­tagged data across any available wired or wireless network, while companion software distributes the data widely in multiple formats to provide a geographically relevant and actionable visual analysis. Each test supplies a flow of real-­time data to organizations tasked with distributing life-­saving water supplies.

Currently in its fifth prototype, the Water Canary came out Clay Shirky’s 2009 Design For UNICEF Class at ITP, a unique collaboration between the NYU department and UNICEF’s Innovations Lab.

Learn more about the Water Canary here.


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