Citizen Science

Nov 26, 2016 by

“If other people, citizens, can join forces, that will be very beneficial,”

Greg Ortiz –

Ever wonder what is in your drinking water? Assistant Professor Wei-Chuan Shih and his students at the University of Houston are making it easier than ever to test water in your neighborhood.

“Anyone with a smartphone would be able to do this,” said Yulung Sung, a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston.

It is the next step for professor Shih’s ‘Dot Lens’ technology, which turns smartphones into microscopes by attaching an inkjet printed lens. A 3D printed attachment allows users to control the light spectrum on the camera, which makes different pathogens visible under the Dot Lens magnification.

“It is able to give a result that is comparable to the very heavy, expensive equipment,” said Mariam Malik, an undergraduate working on the project.

“We want as many people as possible to adopt this technology,” Shih added.

Funding the research is a grant from the National Science Foundation’s ‘Citizen Science’ initiative, which aims to get the public interested in science.

“There is zero possibility for us to go out and sample all of these different water bodies,” Shih said.

Arming citizens with inexpensive tools to test water will help scientists collect more data and could lead to safer drinking water for everyone.

“If other people, citizens, can join forces, that will be very beneficial,” Shih said.

Source: UH Moment: Citizen Science – Houston Public Media

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