Here’s a brilliant idea that functions as both environmental pollution monitor and thought-provoking urban art installation: a floating LED light system embedded in bodies of water to warn of water pollution (in addition to creating an ethereal glow at nighttime). A great way to be more green is simply to be more aware, like in the case of DIY Kyoto’s Wattson energy meter, or Natalie Jeremijenko’s pollution-sniffing dogs, and this project, architects Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin’s ingenious WaterGlow project does just that – making us aware of environmental problems in a beautiful way.

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The Living’sRiver Glowbegan as a flash researchproject— Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin gave themselves a $1,000 budget and three-month timeline to develop a fully functional prototype. But attention quickly followed when it was named a runner-up in Metropolis’s 2006 Next Generation Design Competition. The light system monitors environmental conditions and is able to measure water quality using a network of easily installable, non-mechanical pods connected to sensors that glow red when the water quality is poor and green with the water quality is good. Since the water quality can be monitored from the water’s surface, people will be able see the quality of the water first hand and know when the water is safe for swimming, fishing or other activities.

“We used floating strips of thin film photovoltaics connected in series to power a rechargeable AA battery. 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.”

+ RiverGlow + The Living (Architecture Practice) Related article from Metropolis Magazine

David Benjamin and Soo-In Yang were one of the presentations at the recent Postopolis events -watch the following video of their presentation: