Technological "message in a bottle" warns of floods in advance

Queensland mechanical engineers have developed the Drifter river device to warn of flooding, sewage or algae blooms. It looks like a simple PVC tube equipped with sensors that transmit data on the quality and speed of water in real time.

Smart pipes could provide an alternative to the standard fixed flood monitoring sensors currently in use. Unlike them, Drifters are more mobile and can be thrown into any part of the reservoir, including from a helicopter.

Real-time data is transmitted over Bluetooth and cellular networks using a SIM card, and a GPS sensor shows the exact location of the device. This allows you to quickly find places where there is a threat of flooding.

Currently, field trials of floating and stationary Drifters are underway to measure water pH, turbidity, salinity, temperature and oxygen content. The device can be easily reoriented for measurements in agriculture and waste disposal.