By GREGORY ZELLER //
An award-winning digital sensor system is helping clean water flow to rural communities around the globe, thanks in part to the creativity of a top Long Island innovator.
A remote well sensor designed and deployed by charity: water, a circa-2006 nonprofit credited with executing more than 28,000 clean-water projects in 26 countries, has earned an International A’ Design Award. A’ Design Award & Competition is an international organization dedicated to promoting professional designers and other global innovators.
The remote well sensors monitor well-water conditions and levels in real time, providing a critical resource in charity: water’s mission to deliver access to clean water in rural and developing areas.
Leveraging a $5 million technology grant from Google, the organization developed its first generation of remote well sensors in 2012, looking to both monitor well conditions and keep project donors appraised of the status of global water efforts.
But those earliest versions lacked sufficient RAM or Flash memory to accurately monitor water conditions, according to engineering specialists at Hauppauge-based Intelligent Product Solutions, which was called in to soup up the submersible sensors.
IPS designers updated the sensors’ electronic innards to include newer and more powerful processors, and also “rewrote the water-detection algorithm to increase accuracy,” according to a company statement.
The company’s software specialists had to overcome a significant challenge common to many underdeveloped regions: lack of robust cellular service, which is often limited to 2G data service or less.
So, the new processor algorithm didn’t only need to more accurately measure water levels and other conditions, it “had to use the same or less power than the original design to be effective and withstand the rugged conditions,” IPS noted.
In addition to clearing that hurdle, the company’s engineers added a new GPS beacon to the charity: water sensors, permitting easy location of a well after a natural disaster or in the most remote rural locales.
All told, IPS proved invaluable to the development of the next-generation remote well sensors, according to Christoph Gorder, charity: water’s chief global water officer.
“IPS was integral to the process of redesigning our sensor with a new approach that ensures it would function as planned in the rugged environments where they are deployed,” Gorder said. “The new version of our sensor enables us to continue delivering on our promises of sustainability and transparency for our donors and the communities that we serve.”
Intelligent Product Solutions President Mitch Maiman said his company, now a subsidiary of Florida-based global designer/distributor Forward Industries, was “honored” to work with charity: water on a project that fortifies IPS’s standing as a global solutions provider – while doing a lot of direct good for people who truly need it.
“This important remote well sensor enables the delivery of clean water to rural communities in remote parts of the world,” Maiman said Tuesday. “We pride ourselves in delivering best-in-class product design, and the [A’ Design Award] further validates our success and leadership in design.”