Mānoa: UH student developed sensor could revolutionize well-water monitoring

UH News

University of Hawaiʻi at MānoaContact:Posted: Mar 22, 2019From left, Jie Zhou and Tamra OyamaDROP module chassisStudents in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering have developed a small, four-sensor, solar-powered device that could transform well-water monitoring throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Tamra Oyama, a graduate scholar and graduate engineering student in the ʻIke Wai project is leading the effort to develop the Downwell Remote Operating Platform (DROP).DROP module chassis“The DROP module has potential to be a useful tool for well owners to monitor their water and track trends. It can be used as an alert system when the DROP module detects an abnormality and can prompt a quick water test in the lab,” said Oyama. “Additionally, since the DROP module is robust and low-cost, it can be adapted to different environments such as rivers or reservoirs.”By cost-effectively measuring four critical aspects of water quality–temperature, flow direction, salinity and biocontaminants–the DROP module provides a rapid, simple and environmentally sustainable way to remotely and wirelessly monitor well water within the islands. Currently, the DROP module is being tested in its prototype phase in wells at the Natural Energy Laboratory on Hawaiʻi Island. Long-term goals are to expand the DROP module’s use to the other islands and beyond.ʻIke WaiʻIke Wai, funded by National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), seeks to better understand Hawaiʻiʻs aquifers. The information collected from the DROP sensors helps the project’s researchers and community members with valuable data for decision-making.Working with David Garmire, ʻIke Wai researcher and associate professor of electrical engineering at UH Mānoa, Oyama joined the project in fall 2017 when she worked on one of the device’s sensors as an undergraduate.Assisted by fellow engineering graduate student Jie Zhou, Oyama oversees DROP module …

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