EWB-USA Greater Austin Chapter

Official website of EWB-USA Greater Austin


One of the major goals within our organization is to ensure world access to safe drinking water. Methods to assess presence of pathogens in water generally require incubation (for example, Petrifilm™ E. Coli / Coliform plates require incubation for 48 hours at 37°C).


There is a lack of a satisfactory commercial incubation solution for assessing water quality in communities without reliable electricity. Traditionally, in-field incubation is done by taping Petrifilms™ against peoples’ skins. This is very uncomfortable, severely limits quantity of tests, and can compromise clarity of results. A variety of make-shift incubators using light-bulbs or boiling water used in the field requires constant monitoring and adjustments to maintain temperature.

Solution: Incubator Maker 1 (Armadillo)qmvafmgWe have been driven by the gap in reliable field-use incubation instrumentation to create a portable incubator for bacterial analysis of water. Our current prototype, the Armadillo, is:

  • Inexpensive (can be made with materials for under $200)
  • Easy to assemble (under 2 hours, no soldering required)
  • Easy to use (just flip a switch to turn on, no monitoring needed)
  • Reliable (reliably holds at 37°C for up to 65 hours on one charge)
  • Robust (withstands rain, shocks, bumps, falls)
  • Portable (weights 5 lbs and measures less than 1 cubic feet)
  • Grid-independent (powered from a rechargeable battery)

We provide step-by-step photo instructions on how you can able to build your own Petrifilm™ Incubator for under $200. Whether you wish to look at your own drinking water, or provide information for community leaders in the developing world, this product will allow you to visualize information about drinking potentially contaminated water.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team regarding your build.


The Instrumentation Team works to assemble the Armadillo prototype (March 2016)



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Upcoming Events

  • Brunch in the Park w/ EWB August 26, 2017 at 9:00 am – 11:00 am Pease District Park, 1100 Kingsbury St, Austin, TX 78705, USA Join us as we celebrate the beginning of the fall semester. Come hang out, learn about our projects, and have some fun! Who: EWB members, friends, family, coworkers, anyone is welcome! What: Board members will provide a classic brunch food spread and outdoor games. Feel free to bring food or games of your own! When:…
  • EWB Board Meeting August 29, 2017 at 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Central Market, North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX, United States Executive Board Meeting
  • First Day of Class UT August 30, 2017