by Linzy Novotny
Maintaining a pool and spa requires checking pH, which can be a guessing game. Typically a thin, testing strip is dipped into the water and the color the strip turns is compared to a chart. Comparing the colors on the chart to the strip will not give a specific reading, but one company is seeking to change that so readings are more precise and the process is effortless.
Brian Noland of Murrieta, Cali., founded Anywhere Science with Cas Hoefman. Their first project—the LabStrip—transforms an iPhone 4 and 4S into a portable lab. To get the project off the ground the duo is asking for funding through Kickstarter. “Our thoughts were to enhance the capabilities of today’s mobile devices to measure the world around us,” Hoefman said in the project’s Kickstarter video.
To use the LabStrip, with pool and spa care as an example, insert the iPhone into the LabStrip Meter. Next, insert the test strip into the strip nest—the meter houses the test strip nest. After the test strip is in place, the strip nest snaps into place and the iPhone app scans the test strip. The test strips measure the pH, free chlorine, alkalinity and stabilizer in the pool or spa. Because the app interprets the data from the test strip, it takes the “guess work out of interpreting these test strips,” according to Kickstarter.
Depending on the data collected, the user will know how much of each chemical to add to the pool to keep the readings in balance. The data that is collected is also stored to utilize the Anywhere Science Cloud system of forwarding information between iOS devices. “Our web-based portal allows you to access your data—or the data of others within your shared network—from any computer or web-enabled mobile device,” according to Kickstarter. “You can also annotate your data and add files such as notes, documents, voice memos, photos and videos. Use the portal to order products and manage your account.”
“Our decision-making components in Anywhere Science Cloud allow us to help you make sense of your data,” according to Kickstarter. “Even more importantly, we can suggest what to do next. Part of the reason many people choose to pay someone else to take care of their pools, spas, aquariums, ponds, gardens [and so on] is because they don’t know what to do with the testing data. We take the guesswork out, giving you specific instructions on what to do. Now the power is in your hands, on your phone, and in the Cloud on your private account.”
Other instances when the LabStrip can be used are in the classroom and to maintain aquariums and ponds. The team is working to include beer brewing and wine making to useful applications as well as the monitoring of soil, water quality and sanitation.
Pledging at least $35 will get you a LabStrip meter of your own, 20 test strips and a basic Cloud account. As of Oct. 15, $2,201 has been pledged toward the project’s $50,000 goal. The project will only be funded on Nov. 11 if the funding goal is met.
To pledge, visit the LabStrip Kickstarter page.