Cool invention: A new kind of water quality monitoring device

Eric Compas, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and his wife, Lori Compas, have developed Current, a water quality data gathering device that the Compases bill as less expensive and easier to use than other types of water monitoring devices designed for use in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water that are currently on the market:

While Eric is the only one who speaks on camera, it sounds to me that the narrator whose voice is heard at the beginning and end of the video is Lori, but I’ve not been able to confirm that. Additionally, where Eric is clearly the primary inventor of the device, both Eric and Lori have been actively involved with its development, so I’m going to credit both of them for their invention.

The Compases have recognized three main problems that they see with current water quality monitoring devices: First, water quality monitoring devices currently on the market are overly expensive. Second, the data that water quality monitoring devices currently on the market provide are not easy for even some experts to interpret. Third, with water quality monitoring devices currently on the market, it takes a lot of effort to gather data.

With Current, water quality data can be gathered from a canoe, kayak, or other similar type of boat, or, alternatively, from a fixed location in a body of water. A mobile phone app is used to guide the user of the device through the data-gathering process and upload the data to a server. Current maintains a cloud service that people can subscribe to and access data that has been gathered by users of the device, state government agencies, and federal government agencies. The data also includes maps and charts that illustrate the water quality data gathered.

I hope that this new water quality data gathering device is used widely and makes it easier to monitor the quality of the sources of water that we use to drink, bathe with, swim in, clean with, and so on. More importantly, I’d love to see federal, state, and local government agencies start using this device on a large scale, especially if it saves taxpayers money and makes it easier for public officials and the general public to understand water quality better.

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