We’re ready to break the water quality data collection barrier

By Samuel Rajkumar

We at Bangalore based ternup research labs are tremendously being supported to continue making progress in the development of Caddisfly thanks to our being involved with the Flouride Knowledge and Action Network .

The design goal is to achieve a simple, fast, portable and low cost drinking water testing kit that can be used anywhere to quickly analyse the level of fluoride in drinking water, using a smartphone.

Currently under development, Caddisfly also allows water quality data to accurately be mapped and shared online, both its hardware and software are open source as well.

The way that Caddisfly works is that it automates a Xylenol Orange field test reaction using the camera and flash of an Android mobile phone. The colour change is then recorded and compared with an existing calibration, and a Fluoride value in milligrams per litre is displayed to the tester.

Ternup Labs is partnering with Akvo, a global non-profit software foundation, to integrate Caddisfly with its Akvo FLOW mobile phone reporting system. This makes it easier to introduce Caddisfly at scale in Asia, where FLOW is already widely used, and enables Ternup to promote the innovation to Akvo’s network of thousands of development organisations around the world.

We’ve found that existing fluoride water quality-testing procedures are falling short in a number of ways. Field-test equipment is often hard to use and unreliable and lab tests are costly and slow. Resulting data is generally stored locally and not shared effectively. This makes it hard to quickly collect, analyse, present and efficiently use data. While Ternup is prioritising fluoride as the first key market, filling a large gap in the water testing ecosystem,  we surely are working on other tests as well that are under development.

Ternup’s ability to bring a technology to market is being uniquely aided and enriched with the unique knowledge the Fluroide Knowledge and Action Network has gained around the complex problem of Fluorosis, especially in India. Ternup was present at the first kick off meet of the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network from October3-4, 2013 at New Delhi

“At that time, the device was in an early stage of development, but the interactions at that meeting provided us with a huge thrust in rapidly advancing product development. Members of the network have since helped us in the developing Caddisfly with helping us with comments around usability, accuracy and the state of the art in Fluoride testing.”

” at the moment we are co-authoring a paper with the Fluoride Network describing the Caddisfly kit and providing data around testing in the lab and the field. We hope this exercise will establish the final parameters for the kit, including accuracy, precision, range, and the least measurable quantity.”

Data gathering for the paper is now underway. “The Fluoride Network also helped out with our first ever field pilot at Jhabua and Dahod where about 35 samples were tested with three different kits in the field and in two separate labs. Results from all five sources were remarkably consistent”

As it prepares to scale up its partnership with Akvo in 2015, Ternup continues to draw upon its association with the Fluoride Network as a member for help in all aspects of product development.

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