Wouldn’t it be better if river depths in rural Africa could be measured remotely?

Many of us don’t think much about the fluctuating depths of our water ways.  But if you live in rural Africa, river depth can be a matter of life and death.  Obviously, there are existing was to measure river depth, but they’re expensive, hard to deploy, and nearly impossible to collect data from when your village doesn’t have electricity.

Taoti worked with DAI to develop “Hydrosonico”—a self-contained, Arduino-powered sonar device that runs off a small solar panel and chirps out its data over a simple 2G network.  This simple device costs less than $30 to build, making it virtually disposable.  Deployment is as simple as nailing it to a fixed point over a body of water (such as a bridge), and even in rural Africa, there is enough low-bandwidth 2G coverage to make this an extremely cheap, easy, and useful device to measure river depth in nearly real time.  The data is sent every 10 minutes or so to a database, and a dashboard allows for easy monitoring of one or many devices.

Connected devices are great at monitoring, measuring, and reporting that data back to a central dashboard.  The devices are so small, efficient, and inexpensive that the barrier to deploy them has eroded, opening up all sorts of possibilities.  Even for things that are already being monitored, what else would you monitor if it was a lot easier and cheaper to do so?

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