Engineering Students Create Cheap Way to Tell When Water is Safe to Drink

There's one way that will usually make a concept go from a plan to the real deal pretty quickly: make it cheap. While some concept designs may focus on helping the environment, or finding new ways to help humans in certain situations, they may make it too impractical due to costs. But, if you can manage to create something that is practical and costs less than five dollars to make, we're pretty sure that means you've got a winner on your hands. At least, that's what students from the University of Washington are hoping.

The team of engineering students from the Pacific Northwest-based university have created a way to easily tell when water is safe to drink, while using the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) method. By using the light of the sun, and water trapped in a plastic bottle, it's possible to disinfect the water inside, and make it safe to drink. Unfortunately, there's no "easy" way to find out when the water is safe for consumption right now, but the students are looking to change that.

The students used parts of a keyboard, and strapped the device to the side of plastic bottles. The device is meant to measure how much light is being exposed to the bottle, and the water inside. It blinks while there are particulates in the water, still obstructing the light from passing through the water cleanly. When the process has finished, the device will stop blinking indicating that the water is safe to drink. The device is automatic, too. It will just start working as soon as water is put into the bottle, to the point where the device's sensors can read it. As for pricing, the students say it only costs $3.40 to make.

[via UberGizmo]