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What if any individual had the tools to test water?

On-Target Cards give everyone the tools needed to monitor water sources.
Team members: Thomas Reilly, Josephine Hofstetter, Julie Giroux, Chloe Beardsley, John Wydallis, Kai Fuller

More than a billion people lack access to clean water and the tools to determine if their water is safe to use. Contaminated water is a leading cause of preventable health risks; improving water supplies can reduce the transmission of fatal diseases, contribute to economic growth, and reduce poverty. The need for fast, accurate, accessible water testing is great, but most water analysis tools come in unwieldy, complex, or expensive kits, and produce results that can be difficult to interpret or are not useful for vital everyday needs. The best results are only available from laboratory testing, which can take weeks to return. 

“Our tool was born out of research at Colorado State University that aimed to make environmental analysis easy to implement by anyone. We have developed the tool further by improving the user experience and lowering the limits of detection for key water parameters.”
Thomas Reilly, CSO of Access Sensor Technology and On-Target Cards team lead

On-Target Cards give anyone the ability to assess the chemical structure and nature of water samples. Citizen scientists use a pipette to add the water sample to the marked circle on the credit-card sized tool or submerge the bottom half of the card in a sample solution. 

Each card is designed to test for a different element, including zinc, iron, copper, manganese, cadmium, and chlorine. If that particular element is present in the water sample, a colored circle will form on the card within five minutes. The circle’s diameter is measured by eye or through a camera phone application to determine the concentration of the element in the sample.

The Access Sensor Technologies team wants to democratize water testing by empowering everyone to analyze water quality anywhere in the world. The team is developing a technology platform that will include additional water and soil tests and a mobile app to automate analysis and share data.

“By combining On-Target Cards with smartphones and the power of rapidly expanding internet access, our tool could become the total water analysis solution for hundreds of millions of people around the world with no training or advanced knowledge of water testing. The technology could also provide feedback on aging water infrastructure, acting as an early indicator for groups and regions at risk of poor quality drinking water or natural resource contamination.”
Thomas Reilly, CSO of Access Sensor Technology and On-Target Cards team lead

The Access Sensor Technologies team

With On-Target Cards’ easy-to-use functionality and ability to generate quantitative results, users can track significant changes in the environment. Eventually, scientists could use On-Target Cards to identify point source pollutants in a watershed, generate large data sets linking environmental contaminants to health concerns, and track seasonal variations in exposure threats to at-risk communities. 

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Published: 09/06/2019