Can’t wait to get started!!!

So, I’ve been playing around for JJ’s whole nap today on Google Maps APIs. My other browser window is searching for ARM-based Arduino clones.

This may or may not sound interesting to you, but to me this is gold! You see, I’m a geek… But a geek who sincerely wants to use his skills and passions to serve the underprivileged.

Coming back from the Tech Center, my mind was racing about contributing to a project that the Manufacturing Manager, Steven Peacock, is leading.  We’ve teamed up with ICDI to install wells to bring clean water to communities who need it. (You can read more about the project here.)

But how does a Computer Engineer fit in? These wells are equipped with special satellite uplinks, so that we can (remotely) monitor their performance. For instance, we can tell if a pump is broken within a few hours, regardless of how geographically remote the community may be!  This translates into quicker mobilization of a repair team, and much less time for the community to be without water.

The flow meter test rig in the machine shop at the Tech Center. The water comes in through the green tube, exits through the black tube, and the amount of water flow is sent along the little black wire to the “Arduino” microcontroller.

This “Arduino” is little, and cheap, but its packs a punch — it can perform about *16 million* instructions in a single second, and can run off a set of AA batteries for *3 years*.

Built right into the pump are a few sensors, that measure water flow and movement of the pump handle, which is connected to a miniature computer we call an “Arduino”, which is connected to a device that can send a message to a satellite, which is connected to a Google Maps web page so that we can visualize the entire network of wells, and quickly identify and respond to individual issues.

Using technology for great causes. I can’t wait to get started!