Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Protecting Water Supplies

The U.S. military has awarded a contract for the development of an RFID-based sensor that could detect deadly waterborne pathogens.
By Bob Violino
Oct 01, 2008—U.S. soldiers operating in remote areas need to find safe drinking water. Often they must do repeated tests on the same water source to check for the presence of hazardous organisms. Now, the military is seeking a device that would continuously monitor water supplies for three common waterborne pathogens, Vibrio cholerae, E. coli and Giardia intestinalis, and use RFID technology to send an alert when dangerously high levels are detected.


In January, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a one-year contract to develop the device to two Boulder, Colo., companies. Sporian Microsystems, a startup that develops microsensors, and Phase IV Engineering, a radio frequency systems developer, are collaborating to develop a prototype by the end of this year, though their contract could be extended through late 2006.

The device, which will float, consists of a sensor connected to an active RFID transponder. The sensor will be submerged, and the RF antenna will sit above the water. When a sensor detects a preset level of a pathogen, say, 1 part per million, it will trigger an optical signal that will be detected by a microchip in the RFID transponder, which, in turn, will communicate the danger.

Sporian is developing the sensor, and Phase IV Engineering is currently working on two possible ways the device could communicate the presence of a pathogen. One is a self-configuring network of RFID transponders that would pass data from one node to another until the information reaches a final node that transmits an alarm about water contamination to a central monitoring station via a satellite communication system. Another option is to use handheld readers to query the devices.

Kevin Harsh, Sporian’s project lead, says that the fundamental research could be applied to sensors that would detect other pathogens and toxins, including those that could be used as airborne and waterborne biological or chemical weapons.

The technology exists today to create effective sensor networks, but commercializaton could take several years. “In the long term, we could have low-cost sensors in every town’s water supply,” says Rich Pollack, president of Phase IV. “And they could be set up to detect not just cholera, but almost any waterborne pathogen.”
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 362 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco