In 2008 the National Academy of Engineering issued 14 Grand Challenges, which present the main problems that will face the world throughout the 21st century. The 1st Annual Grand Challenges Student Organization Design Competition presents an opportunity for students to actively work towards solving those real world problems by joining a student organization and participating in a project. The Engineering Without Borders became involved as the theme for the year 2018-2019 is centered around the Flint Water Crisis. An executive summary and a poster presentation will follow in April, and May respectively.
Currently our project aims to create an civilian water safety warning system that measures the relative levels of lead concentration in tap water to warn when the water is unsafe for use. The monitoring system uses a four electrode sensor developed by the Department of Chemical Engineering in the University of Michigan. A session with Professor Jorne allowed us to better understand the electrochemistry behind the lead detection sensor, potential modifications to make, and drawbacks to consider. We aim to develop a plan for a network of lead sensors deployed within different households that collect and transmit water quality data to a mobile application for user notification, quality tracking, and alerting the local water utilities. We plan to develop a CAD model of a sensor that can be attached to the tap, a wifi data transmitting system using Arduino with a flow chart for the application, and possibly a prototype of software.