About this idea
Tikal Industries LLC specializes in water quality testing, through the development of their flagship platform product, Inti. This is a retrofit hardware system that utilizes a machine learning-powered RAMAN spectroscopy technique to detect contaminants in water. Inti's plug-and-play modularity allows for the baseline hardware and associated software platform to take multiple form factors. Tikal currently has two device designs: M-Inti, a handheld phone attachment for infield usage, and Inti Pipe, a compact and rugged module for autonomous testing through pipes. In addition to providing testing for municipalities, Inti can help cities with regular water testing, geo-mapping piping composition for lead service line replacements, testing for cross-contamination detection during construction, and tracking public health (community and environmental) through untreated wastewater testing.
Tikal is trying to address America's silent public health issue which is caused by contaminated water, a problem worth $1 trillion, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. But within this large infrastructure problem, certain sectors are being ignored by innovation and funding. Tikal has identified three such sectors which our technology, Inti, can help address: (1)unknown contamination in tap water and resources used for crop/livestock irrigation is a $78 billion healthcare issue; (2) there is a $4.8 billion demand for novel contamination detection due to point contamination and new regulations being passed by the EPA; (3) roughly $2 billion worth of taxpayer money will be improperly spent in unnecessary lead service line replacements due to improper detection of pipe composition. Lastly, since this is a platform technology, we are also able to support early contagious disease or abuse outbreaks tracking by testing untreated wastewater. This is a major point of interest for the CDC to prevent the next outbreak, traces of which can show up in wastewater days to weeks before trends are located in hospitals. While the application of Inti is endless, we are starting small with low-funded municipalities, schools, and urban farms; Tikal has already secured three paid pilots in Chicago, IL, and Flint, MI.
What I'll do with $5,000
The $5,000 will be used to collect in-field data on the efficiency of the Inti device. The device has been benchtop tested for lead and E. Coli but not placed in an uncontrolled setting with cross-contamination variables. The grant funding will allow for the deployment of a beta product to a lower-funded municipality in Illinois, Michigan, or Indiana. The team is currently talking to 7 local municipalities across the three states. Most of these areas struggle with non–point sources of pollution as well, such as agricultural run-off or manufacturing waste, so they struggle to maintain consistency in the quality of water due to a lack of concrete data and understaffing issues. The funding would support the development of a single device, costs associated with transporting and setting up the device, and running the pilot for 3-4 weeks. The data will prove the efficiency of the device, cross-checked with lab standard material, and start training the algorithm for difficult-to-track contaminants that the municipalities may be struggling with. Completion of the pilot would allow for access to more government funding and support raising our fundraising round.