STEM II at Mass Academy is taught by Dr. Crowthers. Starting midway through C Term, we begin working on an Assistive Technology Group Project. Similar to a traditional company design, we were all given roles such as CEO, CIO, CMO, and CTO. We worked to create devices that would aid the community and presented our work at our STEM II fair in May.
CEO: Kyle Klamka, CMO: Joshua Schnee, CTO: Ashwina Bangari, CIO: Naga Vikram
Water is widely known to be one of the essential building blocks of life, making up 50-75% of a human’s body weight (Popkin et al., 2010). Water is needed for a significant number of processes throughout the body–everything from homeostasis to digestion assistance and skin protection. Therefore, it is unsurprising to hear that a significant amount of water is needed in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and that insufficient water consumption can quickly become fatal. Knowing this, it is concerning to learn that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated (Taylor & Jones, 2022). The recent rise in caloric beverage intake has only served to increase the likelihood of dehydration and the other harmful issues associated with it (García-Arroyo et al., 2016). As dehydration was already an issue, this change makes the problem more alarming. Another problem is the lack of awareness surrounding ideal water consumption. Although many people understand the importance of drinking water, they do not have a good grasp on just how much water they should be drinking each day (Albasheer et al., 2021). People often fail to recognize the impact that dehydration has on their bodies until a physical symptom arises. Dehydration is an even greater concern for the elderly population, particularly those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, which could cause them to forget to drink water throughout the day (Lauriola et al., 2018; Taylor & Jones, 2022).
Prior to creating our prototype, we had to make several decisions as to the design and functionality of the bottle. We started off by determining how to detect water levels within the bottle. We considered various sensor technologies, including a weight sensor and infrared sensor, but ultimately ended up settling on capacitive sensors. Additionally, we had to determine the mechanism by which the sensor would be activated. After considering several methods, including constant activation or manual button-pressed activation, we decided on a lid-based activation mechanism.
Our final prototype consists of four parts: an inner shelling, an outer casing, a hardware compartment, and a lid. The inner shelling holds the water, separating it from the circuitry held in the hardware compartment at the base of the bottle. All parts were 3D printed using PLA filament, ensuring that they are food safe. Our prototype utilizes a series of capacitive sensors along the edge of the bottle that are able to detect changes in the electric field, that are then registered as changes in water levels. These sensors are activated each time the lid is placed back on the water bottle after being removed.