Nothing makes us happier here at TreeHugger than reading about innovative devices that perfectly marry the concepts of design and science. Case in point is The Living's River Glow project, the brainchild of architects Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin (who we've previously mentioned here): an elegant floating LED light system that monitors water pollution.
What started out as a basic flash research project quickly turned into something much bigger when Yang and Benjamin, operating on a shoe-string budget of $1,000, won the runner-up spot in Metropolis' 2006 Next Generation Design Competition.
"We used floating strips of thin film photovoltaics connected in series to power a rechargeable AA battery," said Benjamin. "We then re-wired a low-cost pH sensor to detect changes in water quality and trigger an LED connected to uncoated fiber optic strands. The result is an ethereal cloud of light hovering above the water's surface that changes colors according to the condition of the water below."
Using a network of non-mechanical pods connected to sensors that emit different colors based upon the water quality (red for poor, green for good), the light system will prove very useful in letting people know whether or not a particular body of water is safe for swimming, fishing or other activities.