Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 18, 2006

Fish on the frontline against terror

Filed under: Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on October 18, 2006

The Christian Science Monitor reports today on a novel technique to monitor the water supply systems against potential threats:

Somewhere in New York State (we can’t say where), a computer is monitoring every move of eight bluegill fish in a tank. The moment a few start to cough (yes, fish cough) the computer sends an alert and takes water samples.

Called the Intelligent Aquatic BioMonitoring System (IABS), the contraption is the latest high-tech defense against potential terrorism attacks on the nation’s water supply – and it comes in handy, too, for detecting other types of contamination, say a diesel spill from a truck accident.

….The bluegill fish and their companion computers are so sensitive that three major cities – New York, Washington, and San Francisco – used them in a pilot program. The cities found them so successful they’re making them a permanent part of their water-monitoring defenses. The Army, which developed the fish sensor with a private company, also uses the sensor at some undisclosed locations. (These fish are highly classified.)

More information about this is available here on the website of the company that sells the IABS.

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