The project is called “Underworlds.”
Its aim: Track the micobiota of an entire city.
Its goals: Analyze the city’s wastewater to anticipate outbreaks, map antibiotic resistance and monitor public health interventions.
Rather than waiting weeks for collated information on illnesses and outbreaks via traditional reporting methods, MIT’s Senseable City Lab seeks to get real-time epidemiology from the sewers. The lab depends on a cylindrical instrument with removable filters named Luigi that is lowered into sewers to collect samples. Luigi is controlled by an iPhone app.
The Quote: “Our hypothesis is that contaminated water, before it gets to the treatment plant, has an imprint of all the human activities that are going on – in the sewage,” says Alm.