A Clever Smartphone Attachment Will Show if Water Is Contaminated

Victor Tangermann in Futurism: “…astronomers from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands… are developing a simple smartphone attachment that makes it ridiculously, comically easy to measure the quality of water by pointing the tool at it, nothing more.

The tool’s primary purpose isn’t just so that you can whet your whistle in any lake, river, or creek you deem tasty-looking  quick and precise measurements of water pollution can be hugely beneficial for science. This kind of data can steer environmental policies on a national level. Citizens can tell if their drinking water is contaminated. Fishermen are able to determine the quality of their catch, and how pollution could affect local fish populations. Polluted water can even determine human migration patterns by forcing fishermen to move or give up their trade altogether….

There’s a precedent that have researchers hopeful. In 2013, the same team of astronomers and toxicologists developed the iSPEX (Spectropolarimeter for Planetary EXploration) — a smartphone attachment that can measure air pollution. Dutch citizens, along with people in cities from Athens to London, took thousands of measurements of the particulates in the air. The result: a detailed map of dust particles over the Netherlands and beyond.

The technology behind the smartphone attachment actually is a spin-off of sophisticated astronomy technology that can tell if oxygen is present on planets around other stars. This also foregoes the need to take local samples and send them back to the lab — a relatively expensive process that can take a lot longer….(More)”.