This project's funding goal was not reached on January 7, 2014.
This project's funding goal was not reached on January 7, 2014.
Government agencies record and maintain this data.
Energy and engineering firms record and maintain this data.
But you and I do not have access.
SpecShot is how you test water samples for contaminants (the input), and wtrDrop is the web service that describes and maps your analysis (the output). And they both work with the click of a single button.
Push the button, know the contents.
(What is a Spectrometer?)
The SpecShot is a very simple scanning spectrometer.
Spectrometers are used to detect the presence and amount of elements or compounds dissolved in a fluid. They can tell one material from another by analyzing the light shined through it (a sample) and comparing it to the light shined without it (a blank). Each and every element absorbs particular wavelengths of light that are unique to it. The light shined through it is split into a spectrum with a diffraction grating so the wavelengths of the absorbed light in the sample can be seen. (spectrum with dark bands of absorption)
The pattern of absorption seen can be compared with known patterns to identify the substance.
Where the SpecShot differs from conventional spectrometers is in two variations that allow for it to be compact and affordable:
First, instead of reading the entire spectrum wholly at once, the SpecShot scans it bit by bit by taking hundreds of readings in just 1 second. To do this the detector must move over the projected spectrum of light at a consistent speed. To do this without expensive power hungry servomotors, a novel approach was taken > memory foam. Our experiments suggest that under normal temperature and pressure, the foam expands at a consistent rate, allowing the SpecShot to output in a standard recognizable format.
Second, is the projection of the spectrum from the diffraction grating. Usually, sufficient room is required to allow the beam of light to diverge or it will be too small to differentiate the wavelengths. To appreciate this look at the back of a CD under a light(CD or DVDs act as a diffraction grating). The spectrum gets impossibly small to see as you move closer to it. To remedy this the spectrum is viewed at a much higher order > light is passed an oblique angle to the grating (pass light down the edge of the CD in the dark).
What is seen by the detector (Recorded from inside the SpecShot)
A spectrometer, specifically an absorption spectrometer, can detect numerous elements and molecules, too many to list here. In fact, early astronomers used a basic absorption spectrometery to identify the gasses comprising stars including our sun. Modern applications of absorption spectrometry include medical (analysing metals in blood and urine), chemical engineering, environmental analysis (impurities in water, beer, wine air ect.), mining and prospecting.
We’re not sure exactly how much the SpecShot can detect because it hasn’t been used enough. However, we don’t expect many surprises because it relies on the same principles as all other spectrometers and so far all tests are compliant with recognized standards.It will be exciting to find out the full capabilities of the SpecShot, but we need your help to fulfil that goal.
This data was taken from a kitchen faucet and a laboratory-based solution of distilled water and salt with an early model of the SpecShot and it demonstrates its impressive analytic capacities.
Many of the larger spikes in the sample correlate with the salt reference. We discovered through this that there is a water softener in the building (Sodium added to water). As you can see there were many other lines present in what was considered normal tasty tap water. What could they be? Part of the aim of this project is to fill in those blanks as well as many others.
We are constantly adding to our database of dissolved elements and compounds, and with the funds raised here we plan to significantly expand that reference base to include materials and elements found outside of North America.
We would like to continue to offer the SpecShot and the wtrDrop service as we see this a low cost alternative to what is available for most people. Every day we see examples where something like this in the hands of the public could make a difference.
In keeping with our desire to keep this as open to the public as possible, the wtrDrop system is also available to those without purchase of a SpecShot (4 ways):
Find all this on http://www.wtrdrop.com.
We need your help collecting samples. We want to build up a larger reference library too and if the campaign is successful we would open this up to the public to collect as well.
Eventually we would like to make an app that would allow for instant verification of chemicals, once a reliable library is built up and the device is tested in the field long enough.
There are more improvements that we would like to see incorporated in to later devices such as size reduction, or as expansions, such as GPS.
Dimensions: 50mm x 5.0 mm x 40mm (1.97 “ x 1.97 “ x 1.58”)
Connection: Micro B USB (note USB A Shown on Prototype). Optional Bluetooth upgrade with JY-MCU HC-06 V1.03 Bluetooth Transceiver.
Power consumption: ~4.5 V (USB) to ~5.5V (2x CR2032 Lithium Coin Batteries) –Peak current draw ~ 0.150 Amperes (Momentarily). Auto-disconnects from power between use to maximize battery life. (Est. 2 years with normal use).
Drivers/Software: None required for use. Recognized by most computers as human HID device (keyboard). Internet connection required. Driver provided for reprogramming firmware (via USBasp).
Processor: 16 Mhz ATMEGA328 PU Microcontroller. 32KB Flash memory, 1KB EEPROM (Enough to store 5 scans at a time).
Lamp: White 5mm TO LED. 16cdDetector: Clear 5mm TO Phototransistor. Peak wavelength efficiency ~ 940 nm. Measured wavelength 380 to 1100 nm.
Risk # 1 Functionality dependent on usage:
We have a two track approach to water sample analysis: Samples of water will be sent to us electronically via the SpecShot, as well as by general post. This is so that we can begin to compile the data we need to ensure the success of the whole system while the manufacturing is underway. Also, an all or none campaign helps make sure that enough of these are distributed. This will help ensure that a functioning SpecShot arrives to our backers.
Risk # 2 Initial production run (bugs in the software/hardware)
Although this is a Beta Test Device, we intend for it to work and be useful as we described in the campaign. In keeping with our vision of improving the device, we will be actively seeking feedback from the backers who have used the device for a while. If there something to improve upon during initial dispersal of the units, we will be able to meet that challenge with firmware or hardware upgrades (we have left port open on the board to install additional hardware).
Risk # 3 Production demands (getting it on time)
We currently have a private prototyping facility with plenty of space to expand. Our plan is to expand into basic manufacturing facility, while keeping outsourcing to a minimum.
We have limited the initial production run of the beta test units to 1500. This is enough, in our opinion, to start building up a reasonably sized repository of spectrographs while being attainable to produce initially.
We maintain an inventory of the components needed for the production of the SpecShots electronic and structural hardware. As of now, all parts are in stock with many multiples to spare.
To keep costs down and keep the design open source the SpecShot was built entirely from components that have a high likelihood of always being available (ie. ATMEGA 328-P, simple ruled diffraction grating, CR2032 lithium batteries, ect.).
Of paramount concern to us is that we are to be able to fulfill all of our campaign orders on time. To do this, we limited the number of SpecShot's initially to 1500. If we run out of the the units during the campaign in the first offering, we are prepared to offer more, but with later delivery dates to account for possible lead time on components.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The SpecShot Beta communicates by USB with your computer in essence as a keyboard (Human Input Device). The upload form on the wtrDrop site is simply filled in in this manner.
Therefore, it can be pointed to any application you choose (such as Excel(TM)). This is ideal if you intend to use it for "off-label" use which we are totally fine with.
The advantage to uploaded to wtrDrop is that we can compare it with the reference library which also requires some mathematical manipulation. Geolocation is also submitted by this upload. But we have set this up with the intent of analyzing water from specific sources.
One scan takes about 25 seconds.
The first thing to do is calibrate it with an empty chamber. So the plunger is depressed until it gives a long beep then beeps twice, then you release. Its best if the water bottle is already fitted into the front while doing this.
Then, tilt the bottle and let the front fill and depress the button after the long beep but before the double beep as above.
This can be with data saved on the chip 5 times. If you do it more than five times, it will write over the last sample back to the first. Data is dumped off the chip in the reverse order it was collected in a similar back and forth fashion.
To dump the data, the plunger is pressed and released.
Note* with Bluetooth, the plunger is half depressed until paired, then pressed fully and released to do this.
But, over time a film may build up on the mirror and in the chamber, and it would be a good idea to wipe it out with a soft cloth.
- (39 days)