With the combined efforts of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the researchers from the University of Bath (Department of Chemical Engineering), they have created a water sensor through 3D printing that can check the water system’s safety levels for consumption. The device created by the researchers can provide round the clock water quality assessment which is a useful tool for people in the developing world to ensure that their drinking water is safe.
With the help of a 3d printer, the researchers created a fuel cell like device. They filled it up with bacteria that are contained within the fuel cell. Within the device the bacteria are allowed to flourish and with their proliferation they emit tiny but measurable electrical charges. Once the bacteria inside the fuel cell like apparatus come in contact with contaminated water, there is a consequent change in the electrical charge that they emit, thus alerting people that their current water source is not fit for drinking.
Within the settings of the laboratory, the device was able to identify toxic pollutants in the water like cadmium. Cadmium is a well-known waste element of the electronics industry and when consumed can cause cancer and several other health problems.
What is wonderful about this invention is that the results can be seen right away. The bacteria within the fuel cell are likened to a canary within mine shafts that are very sensitive to changes in the air. This then alerts the miners to get out of the mine right away—the same is true for this invention. It is a better assessor of drinking water’s cleanliness in real time without having to take water samples at each time of the day and be studied in the lab.