Researchers across the pond have created a 3D printed sensor to detect water pollutants. The otherwise costly sensor can monitor the quality of water in lakes and rivers. In order to detect pollutants, the sensor holds bacteria that convert chemical energy into electric energy; this energy is expressed as a current, which is dependent on the stasis of the bacteria. Fluctuations of the environment surrounding the sensor produce different responses in electrical current from the bacteria. Cadmium, a byproduct of the electronics industry, is a particular concern. The sensor is able to detect even the smallest traces of cadmium and other toxins. The current drops accordingly in response to the levels of pollutants. The 3D sensor allows scientists to monitor the toxicity levels in real time oppose to testing multiple samples in a lab, saving countless hours and dollars! The bacterium was compared to a “canary in a mine”. This method can effectively replace current, expensive methods of mass spectrometry sampling and fish tracking. Easy, efficient, and effective, the 3D sensor could revolutionize the world’s access to clean water!
“www.3ders.org.” 3ders.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2014.