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by Sofia Villegas
03 May 2024
Scottish expertise to help develop 'transformational' IoT sensing technology

New IoT low-cost sensor could help monitor water quality in developing nations | Alamy

Scottish expertise to help develop 'transformational' IoT sensing technology

Scottish expertise will help develop an affordable Internet of Things (IoT) water sensor that could have a “huge impact” on developing nations, it is claimed. 

CENSIS – Scotland’s innovation centre for sensing, imaging, and IoT technologies – has partnered with London-based start-up Aqsen Innovations to develop a sensor system capable of monitoring water quality in real time. 

It is hoped the device will help “mitigate” the effects of climate change in developing nations, with the technology aimed at areas prone to flooding or reliant on sectors such as agriculture and aquaculture.

Rinku Dasbiswas, co-founder of Aqsen Innovations, said: “Aquasense provides real-time, dynamic insights on water quality that can support communities and help to improve productivity across a variety of sectors grappling with environmental challenges.

“It is about making technology that can make a real difference more affordable and accessible to those who need it most. The impact this could have in developing nations is huge, and it was brilliant to hear the initial feedback from farmers on the difference this could make to their livelihoods.”

The IoT sensors can be adapted to test for a range of variables in water, including temperature, oxygenation, salinity, and the presence of chemicals such as chlorine. All data they provide can be monitored by mobile devices. 

As data generated by the sensors can be remotely accessed via a mobile device, the technology allows for better-informed decision-making. It is thought that farmers could use the technology to monitor the soil moisture for crops, which influences plant health and yields, while fish farmers could use it to identify the optimal time for feeding and monitoring health.

The technology will soon begin advanced trials in Lake Victoria as well as as Scotland, where the team will explore its use in contexts including flooding and tree planting.

It has already undergone successful tests at fish farms in Uganda in floodplains and on farmland in India. 

“Once we reach commercialisation, we hope to develop the product further and begin incorporating satellite imaging. CENSIS is playing a key role in integrating IoT technologies into our sensor systems. The team also introduced us to other UK-based companies operating in the field, and we hope to foster these connections by working together to adapt the product and help mitigate against the impacts of climate change in this part of the world as well,” Dasbiswas added.

The team is also currently exploring potential applications in South Africa and Malaysia.

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