A crowdsourcing effort is under way to monitor the toxic algae that pollute Lake Erie.
University of Akron's science professor Hunter King and his students are developing inexpensive and do-it-yourself measuring devices that the public will be able to build or buy.
King says he wants to get materials in the hands of volunteer groups and schools to measure local water sources.
"First we want to have a larger set of nutrient load data in a larger space and even more people are actually active in the measurement process, the more people will actually be involved in the problem."
King says they are still testing the spectrometers. It is not yet certain when they will be available to the public.
Instructions and designs to build spectrometers will be provided by Professor King. They will also be available for purchase for those who do not want to build themselves. The materials cost about $ 20 dollars for construction, while the prefabricated models cost around $ 30.
The spectrometers are made with laser cutting and 3D printed materials, using a reagent, light and mirror to analyze the nutrients in the water. The results are read with an & # 39; app for iPhone and can be sent directly to the researchers.