Canary in the Coal Mine, Meet the Fish in the Reservoir!
New York and San Francisco have begun using the IAC 1090 Intelligent Aquatic BioMonitoring System (iABS) developed by Intelligent Automation Corporation (IAC) of Poway, CA to protect public drinking water from contamination and potential terrorism incidents. The system is also being used by the U.S. Army at Fort Detrick, MD, a development partner for the system along with the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research (USACEHR), The US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense Legacy Program. The key to this whole system? Well, a neural network processor, and… fish.
Bluegill sunfish, to be precise (for Europeans: similar to Bream).
IAC’s release notes that the aquatic biomonitoring is actually a pretty mature technology with a 30 year history. The challenge here was to combine that work with state of the art IT and automation technologies, and create a workable system.
Should the fish detect toxic conditions, an alarm is triggered and the IAC 1090 is prompted to immediately take a series of water samples. In addition, the system automatically notifies appropriate staff by phone or email, and may even shut off the water entirely in certain circumstances. The system can operate in a networked or standalone configuration, is designed for remote monitoring (e.g., modem, internet), and according to IAC it has demostrated a remarkable record of zero false positives (success%ages in detecting real contamination were not revealed).
According to local station CBS5, San Francisco has purchased 3 units at $110,000 each. New York’s procurement totals are not known to DID.
N.B: Watershed Publishing contains a very high ratio of fishermen/women, including your editor. So, for readers who wish to point out that the sunfish in the picture looks more like a Green Sunfish than a Bluegill with its elongated shape and lack of a gill cover spot… we know. The graphic comes from IAC, who nonetheless specify bluegills in their release.