Lab+Life Scientist Apr 2016

Page 24

© Tomasz Zajda/Dollar Photo Club


Like a drone over troubled water Start-up company Drones Over Water, founded in 2015 by Adelaide entrepreneur Dan Squire, is developing drones to collect and test potentially dangerous water samples from dangerous or difficult-to-access environments such as reservoirs, chemical spills, wastewater plants, tailings dams and ocean oil spills.


His prize included a $5000 travel scholarship to Austin, Texas, which he plans to use to pitch his idea to potential investors or business partners. If

he drones are capable of flying — either

an investor is found in the coming months, Squire

autonomously or with the help of a pilot — to a

aims to launch a product before the end of the year

programmed GPS position and collecting a sample

and possibly offer a service even sooner.

from a specific depth, using an attachment that

“I think the water industry is going to

hangs below the drone. Squire explained, “When

be our main customer, followed by probably

you lower it to a certain level the attachment opens

environmental, mining and also emergency, such

up, takes a water sample at that level, it closes and

as for a chemical spill or a spill on the ocean where

flies the sample back.”

you can’t put people’s lives at risk to go out and

The drone can test the sample on board or a

monitor that water if it is dangerous,” he said.

variety of parameters, including temperature, pH,

“A the end of the day, there’s no-one standing

conductivity and redox. This data can be sent to

on the edge of a boat or on the edge of the water to

the people who need it.

be endangered. You can also go out to watercourses

“At the moment we just save it on an SD card,

that people can’t go out on, like in the mines.”

but in the future, either through Wi-Fi or a 3G connection, we’ll be able to send it straight to the

This is a modified version of a news item

cloud and someone can access it basically as it’s

published by The Lead South Australia

happening,” Squire said.

under Creative Commons, with additional

Squire last year won first prize at the Flinders University New Venture Institute eNVIes awards.

24 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - April 2016

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