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Tackling water contamination with award-winning Oasis

Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen and Murali Kamma Email Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen and Murali Kamma
May 2018
Tackling water contamination with award-winning Oasis

A Georgia Tech student team, led by civil engineering senior Arjun Bir, came up with an affordable test that detects E. coli. It won the $15,000 grand prize in the 2018 MIT Water Innovation Prize competition.

The test uses a color-coded system to determine if—and by how much—the water is contaminated. The Oasis test, named after the team, costs only $2.99, and the first country they’re targeting is India, where the problem of contamination is acute. The kit includes a paper tube and two paper bags containing E. coli detection powder. The pictorial instructions are easy to follow. What makes the test effective but simple is that, when the water comes into contact with the powder, the contamination is measured by the color combinations. When both bags turn red, the water is highly risky. The water is safe when both bags are orange, while a combination of red and orange indicates moderate risk.

The competition received 60 applications and involved about 200 participants.

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