"Can a fish make a phone call?"
That’s the slogan for Bio-Sensor® , a water security monitoring system developed by Biological Monitoring, Inc., a VT KnowledgeWorks member company. It uses fish to sense whether or not anything is wrong with an area’s water supply.
I had this wild vision of anyone who needed a water quality monitoring system–cities or towns, chemical manufacturers, waste water treatment facilities–getting a cold call from a fish sensor with a pitch to buy a Bio-Sensor®.
"Hello, this is a fish calling. Never had a fish call you before? That’s good, because we only call when we have news.
The news for you today is that I know you’re worried about protecting your people from water problems. You want to make sure if anything gets in the water that shouldn’t be there, you can fix it ASAP.
The news for you tomorrow is that I’ll only call you again if something gets in the water that shouldn’t be there.
You know how dogs guard your house and cats catch mice? I’m a fish sensor. I guard the "house" of your water supply and catch when vermin-like toxins creep in.
You’re probably considering other water quality monitoring systems. Maybe you’re thinking about the ones that use other aquatic organisms like daphnids (Ooh, all those babies jellying the tank!), or mussels (How ’bout those grocery bills? What do they eat, caviar?). High maintenance!
Remember your pet goldfish? Some fish flakes, scrub the fishbowl, done? That’s who we are: goldfish, tetras, zebra fish–whatever kind of plain ol’ fish that adapts easily to your local water temperature and chemistry. And we’re fed automatically by the Bio-Sensor®.
How do we work? We just do our fish thing. The Bio-Sensor® has an algorithm that calibrates what we do over time. If we’re just doing our fish thing, all is well. If what one of us does changes, a light blinks and your technicians can test some water samples. If more than one of us changes, yep, you get the phone call.
Gotta go now. Sad to say, but with water quality such an issue today, I’ve got a lot of calls to make. I’m getting the word out that we Bio-Sensor® fish are ready to help.
Before I go, two words: Fish Cam.
When we’re not working, we’re doing our fish thing in a big tank. We love to be on camera. Oh, and if you have a community contest for the kids to name us? We’re not only helping the community, we become part of it. We like to be community celebrities. We tolerate fish jokes. And, frankly, kids come up with better names than scientists do."
The Bio-Sensor® monitors water all over the world, including South Africa, Namibia, Canada, and Singapore. Recently, the Bio-Sensor® was featured in a Sydney, Australia newspaper which I wrote about in the blog here.