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Mussel Sensors Pave the Way for Environmental Monitoring Tools

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A mussel wired up for monitoring.

North Carolina State University researchers have devised an environmental sensor system that monitors freshwater mussels remotely, in order to detect harmful toxins in the waters in which they live.

Credit: NC State University News

North Carolina State University (NC State) researchers are using a new sensor system to remotely monitor freshwater mussels, to detect harmful toxins in the waters in which they live.

The researchers created the sensor system from commercially available components, including two magnetometer- and accelerometer-equipped inertial measurement units (IMUs) anchored to the mussel's top and bottom shells, so the researchers can compare movement of the shell halves relative to each other.

The IMUs can be wired to a solar-powered data acquisition system mounted on a stake in a waterway to wirelessly transmit data via a cellular network.

Mussels tend to close their shells all at once if noxious substances are in the water, and NC State's Alper Bozkurt believes the sensor system "will ultimately enable us to use them as environmental sensors or sentinels."

From NC State University News
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