After conducting research and speaking with experts, Team Promethio learned about the fresh water shortage and the devastating impact it can have on the human water cycle. The team felt strongly this season that reducing consumption can truly be attained and spent significant time determining what options exist to help reduce water consumption and why those have not reached wide adoption or made any significant dent in our water consumption levels.
The team found over the course of their research that while solutions exist on the market they are all quite costly requiring professional installation and typically are installed on the single water intake valve for the whole house. After spending a small fortune, families using these current solution are only able to see the total amount of water they consume without much guidance on where water is wasted and potential areas for consumption saving.
We at Team Promethio aim to change all this and by designing and developing an innovative new sensor that will allow everyone to easily understand their water consumptions levels from each of the common home devices we have in our house such as sink, faucets, shower heads, and even outdoor garden hoses.
Water Flow Sensor
This water sensor utilizes the scientific magnetic Hall Effect Principle developed by Edwin Hall in 1879 to measure liquid flow through a magnetic pinwheel. As the pinwheel moves the magnets attached to the pinwheel produce electrical pulses at regular intervals called the pulse rate (approx. 4.5 per litre/second). The pulse signal is simple square wave so the team then uses the pulse rate to calculate water flow rate through the mathematical equation flowrate = Number of Pulses (Pulse Frequency measured in Hz) / Pulse Rate. Data is collected and flow rate is derived as water is consumed in real time.
Arduino Data Collection And Smart Device Access
While the sensor is quite unique, we felt this data locked away locally on the sensor would offer limited value. We therefore integrated the sensor with an Arduino microcontroller and a Bluetooth transmitter giving us the ability to upload the water flow data into the internet Cloud where it could be analyzed and used to view usage through a Java application we created to run on any Android smart devices like watches and phones. Goals can be set on these devices with user alerts to help motivate people to attain all of their consumption goals. Water consumption data can also be compared to friends and family further motivating people to change their usage habits by competing against others.
In summary, our cost effective solution improves the design and makes it a perfect device to install everywhere to see exactly where water is wasted and where it can be conserved. There is nothing on the market today that provides such features and Team Promethio is very excited to bring our prototype here today for everyone to see for themselves how such a device will change their lives.