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October 21, 2014 AT 8:00 am

Monitor Water Flow During A Drought #NatureAndTechnology

Residential Water Usage Monitoring, Plumbing-Free from Pier 9 on Vimeo.

Save the world one drop at a time. Monitor water flow using a piezo and Pinoccio mesh networking. via instructables

Water is cheap, but California is in one of the worst droughts ever right now. Let’s face it: we can’t fix the drought. However, some CA residents are actively running out of drinking water. At the municipal level it’s difficult to enact immediate change, but we can change how we use our water at home. I decided it would be a good idea to focus my energies and the resources of my Artist Residency at Pier 9 towards something we can change: our habits. It’s possible to dramatically change our behavior simply by making us aware, but we simply don’t know where our water goes. A bill at the end of the month doesn’t give you much useful information, and it gives you the information a month too late. So I set out to solve the problem of not knowing where our water goes on a realtime basis.

While searching for inspiration, I came across an awesome instructable by StaceyK, where you use a piezo sensor to listen to the water flowing out of a faucet or tap, and translate that vibration data to fluid flow. This gives you an accurate idea of how much water you are using with that specific device. It had a simple ambient display with LEDs that turned from green to red when you exceeded a specified water usage. I was inspired!

So I thought, why not place these all over your house? I didn’t want to stop at one faucet, I wanted a usage breakdown of an entire house. The Internet Of Things is rapidly developing, up to speed with residential water usage. I found a cool small company called Pinoccio: they have low-cost mesh networking devices that can relay data across a network and broadcast that to the web. So I set out to make it easy to get this information.

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Full tutorial


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