Beachgoers may soon be able to know in a timely manner if the water is clean enough for swimming. The technology comes in the form of buoys that are deployed in the water near a beach. By combining statistical models with real-time data gathered by sensors embedded in the buoys, they provide quick and dependable information on water quality.
The sensors in the buoys gather the information – everything from temperature to how clear the water is. Using a cellular modem onboard the buoy, the data are uploaded to a land-based server. From there, it uses Web-based technology – an RSS feed – to get the information to the people who can decide whether or not to close the beach. Data from the sensors are used to automatically run executable programs specific to E. coli, which is an “indicator bacteria.”