By PJ Bellomo
By way of an award for excellence in technology transfer, the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) recognized the US Army and Blue Sources for the mutually successful transition of aquatic biomonitoring technology. Working with David Trader, then serving in the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research, and Blake Sajonia of the Army’s Medical Research and Material Command, the Blue Sources team successfully obtained licensing rights for, and then breathed new life into, the Army’s patented fish biomonitor technology.
According to the FLC, the Excellence in Technology Transfer Award involves recognizing “ ... employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology.” Since obtaining licensing rights, Blue Sources has reengineered the biomonitor technology based on feedback from production users of the Army’s first generation technology.
The technology update took some help. First, Blue Sources received funding from the TEDCO Seed Fund (click here for announcement). Then after searching across Maryland for an engineering design partner, we found ACDI in our own backyard. The know-how and dedication of Frederick-based ACDI engineers Bob DiDonato and Kevin Wilt resulted in the “BG-2,” an easier to maintain biomonitor with a smaller footprint.
When we asked Bob, ACDI’s Engineering Program Manager, about the redesign, he said, “The biomonitor redesign amounted to making a proven technology better. We applied modularization concepts to make the device more compact, maintenance-friendly, and easier to upgrade. We also replaced several obsolete components, selecting new parts with a minimum five years forecasted availability.” We thought our friends at ACDI delivered superlative engineering services, and so we partnered on a case study that you can read here.
Analogous to a canary-in-a-coal-mine, the BG-2 detects hazardous chemicals in water by monitoring the breathing of live fish, namely Bluegills. Based on scientific studies of Bluegills dating back 50 years, the biomonitor should detect over two thousand acutely toxic chemicals. With a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (aka CRADA) in place, Blue Sources continues to work with the U.S. Army to advance the technology and related monitoring services.
Trust the fish.