The Bio-Sensor®, a water security monitoring system developed by Biological Monitoring, Inc., a VT KnowledgeWorks member company, was featured in The Sydney Morning Herald on 3/15/08. Sink or Swim: Eight Fish Who Guard the Health of Millions describes the Bio-Sensor®‘s use of fish sensors to monitor the water quality of the Sydney Catchment Authority which oversees the water supply to over 4 million people.
One of the Bio-Sensor®‘s innovations is its ability to function 24-7. From the Herald: "Although the Sydney Catchment Authority routinely tests for a wide range of impurities, the checks only guarantee water quality at the moment they are conducted."
"Khanittha Poonbua, a project engineer with the authority, said the three centimetre fish provided continuous evidence that all is well."
Here’s how the Bio-Sensor® works:
1. Water continually flows from the monitored source through fish sensor tanks in the unit.
2. Bioelectric signals from the fish are filtered and amplified in the Bio-Amp® before being sent to the computer for analysis.
3. The computer analyzes each fish’s ventilatory activity to determine if it is acting abnormally.
4. If a significant number of the fish are determined to be acting abnormally at the same time an alarm is triggered and a water sample is collected for analysis.
5. The ventilatory activity of the fish can be seen on the display screen as a series of waveforms.