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IIT Madras, FLAME University Students Becomes First Indian Team to Win IBM Call for Code Global Challenge 2021


Students of IIT Madras and FLAME University were awarded the global winners of IBM Call for Code Global Challenge 2021 for creating a device that helps users detect whether the water is contaminated. Known as Saaf Water, it is an open-source AI-IoT platform which when installed will help in the timely monitoring of groundwater and inform users about water quality along with purification methods for consumption.

It also predicts when the water quality will go bad and helps reduce dependency on manual test kits or lab tests for approximate assessment. It can be mounted on many different types of pumps, which are outfitted with sensors that collect information such as total dissolved solids, turbidity, pH, electrical conductivity, and temperature. The device uploads collected data to software in the cloud that analyses it. When contamination is found, users receive text alerts, as the pump’s LED warning lights flick on.

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Manikanta Chavvakula, a second-year undergraduate student from FLAME University, along with Hrishikesh Bhandari and Satyam Prakash from IIT Madras, Sanket Marathe, and Jay Aherkar, together known as Team ‘Saaf Water’ was adjudged the global winners of the contest.

A panel of some of the most eminent leaders in sustainability, business, and technology, including former US President Bill Clinton, awarded Team Saaf Water the grand prize of $200,000. This is the first Indian team to ever win the title.

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“As approximately 50% of the world’s population is still dependent on groundwater, Team Saaf Water felt that there is a strict need for a system which regularly monitors and pre-warns about anomalies or degradations in groundwater,” says FLAME University.

“The team will be now democratizing access to information about water quality in a way that can both help local agents ensure quality and inform the community at large when they’re at risk. The team aims to implement Saaf Water on the ground and benefit the masses,” it adds. Team Saaf Water will now receive support to launch this project from IBM, the United Nations, David Clark Cause, the Linux Foundation, and other partners of the Call for Code movement.

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