Light relief

Researchers have developed a hybrid pollution sensor in the form of a bioluminescent bacteria placed on a standard microchip. A common bacteria is genetically altered to glow in the presence of certain pollutants. This is placed in a porous polymer on the surface of a chip which contains a photo-detector. When the bacteria emits light, the chip emits an alarm. This could prove to be very useful to monitor pollution sites from where these tailor-made micro-organisms could send wireless back data on the monitoring ( Communications of the ACM , Vol 40, No 7).