Nope, it's not a bird; the Water Canary is a recently developed device which can instantly determine whether or not a water supply is contaminated. Developers of the device, which is named for the "canary in a coal mine" warning system, hope that it can be used to detect water supply contamination after a disaster.
Since the device is able to transmit GPS-tagged data, results shared in real time could help contain contamination and prevent the spread of water-borne illnesses. Users merely insert a water sample, and if the water is contaminated, a red light is displayed. Safe water is indicated with a green light. The Water Canary company hopes that its product will be ready for release in the next year, and will plan to open source their hardware so anyone can contribute to development.
For more information, visit Water Canary's website, or watch a recent TED Talk by designer Sonaar Luthra.
Photo via Water Canary Technology