Over the past decade several advancements in harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring approaches and technologies have expanded scientists’ and regulators’ ability to monitor and study algal blooms. BloomOptix is a start-up focused on innovating how we monitor and study HABs by leveraging emerging technologies and methods. The company began in 2019, using advanced sensors and drone technologies to study HABs and water quality phenomena around New York State. In 2021, BloomOptix launched a new product which uses artificial intelligence and digital microscopy to identify and quantify HAB-causing cyanobacteria in water samples. This presentation will detail past and present BloomOptix projects including use of drones for HAB studies, artificial intelligence and how these technologies can help empower decision makers, safety personnel, and citizen scientists.
This past summer, Clean Lakes Alliance volunteers participated in this long-distance collaboration. Equipped with portable digital microscopes generously shipped all the way from London company Iolight, volunteers collected microscopic images of algae and cyanobacteria cells. These images are being used to train an AI mobile app to quickly differentiate between harmless green algae and toxin producing cyanobacteria.