Students construct water filtration devices for ‘Hydro Ape Challenge’

College of the Canyons student Anthony "Andrew" Tashjian explains how his water filtration system works in the cafeteria on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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Two student teams from College of the Canyons (COC) tested their skills in and knowledge of water filtration as part of the college’s biannual MakerFaire competition Tuesday.

In the Hydro Ape Challenge, students had the option to complete three different challenges which included constructing an articulated ape hand, creating a filter for contaminated water and producing a video blog for the fair.

Jason Oliver, department chair of the architecture and interior design program, said the filtration competition included teams from the Chemistry Club and the architecture program.

“The filtration competition was organized by faculty,” he said.  “We encouraged students to use recycled elements or renewable elements instead of buying materials.”

To test the filtration devices, the judges used two vials of water that included solutions made up of green food coloring, salt, vinegar and glitter.

They then tested the effectiveness of the devices using a pH test, a spectrophotometry test to see if any light passed through and a conductivity test to see if any electrical current passed through.  The resulting water was also tested on smell and taste.

College of the Canyons student Anthony “Andrew” Tashjian explains how his water filtration system works in the cafeteria on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

COC student Anthony Tashjian, who is studying biology and water systems at the college, made his filtration device using water bottles, tape, a PVC pipe, wires, cotton balls, dehydrated corn husks, charcoal, pebbles and other recyclable materials.

Called a gravity filtration system, the device took Tashjian about two to three hours to build and another hour to test.

“This design is good for putting rain water through it,” he said.  “It can filter rainwater to near drinkable levels.”

In fact, Tashjian said he plans on using the device to filter rainwater in his yard and use it to water his plants in the Lancaster/Palmdale area.

No students competed in the articulated ape hand portion of the challenge this year.  The challenge required participants to create a hand out of mechanics to test using different grabbing tasks.

Oliver said that in the future, he hopes to integrate the ape hand challenge into a class assignment.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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