Students from a handful of universities around the country have developed a new innovation that monitors water quality levels, which could make Mexico’s water systems much safer.

Named Bluedrop, the system monitors water conductivity, dissolved oxygen, PH or acidity, oxidation, temperature, and color, offering real-time data to reduce the inspection period, accelerate decision making, take preventive actions and, above all, counteract the diseases caused by the consumption of contaminated water.

Bluedrop employs the Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) platform and is composed of both software and hardware, the latter of which is a portable and self-sustaining cabinet that measures 20 x 14 x 10 cm and is powered by solar cells. The system uses industrial sensors that, when immersed in water, measure its quality and displays data on the screen cabinet.

“It sends the parameters by telemetry, i.e. the 3.5G cellular network,” said Erik Velasco, who is responsible for Bluedrop’s software development and is student of computer science at Insurgentes University.

“Once the data are received, it is stored in the software and processed to graphically display the information of the water in real time. We are thinking of scheduling it to take action, independent of the data analysis it contains, so you can have a preventive and predictive analysis.”

The innovation, which began development in January 2017, already proved its effectiveness for measuring the quality of a farmer’s irrigation water in Veracruz state, who, after losing his crops to contaminated water, was saved by Bluedrop when it detected the presence of chemicals in time to stop watering.

This system generates economic savings for the farmer, as well as positive effects on human health by not consuming food watered with contaminated water. However, its use also extends to schools, hospitals, restaurants, and homes.

Considering that, in Mexico’s Filomeno Mata municipality in Veracruz, more than 13,000 people depend on springs, as well as having to live with a wastewater treatment plant that does not work, Bluedrop is set to be a great example of how Mexican innovation improves lives.