There’s a new way to find out whether fresh water is actually fresh and clean: it’s a glowing orb.

Fast Company reported on a project in the Netherlands called POND.

It’s an acronym for Power Of Nature-based Design.

Designer Ermi van Oers produced a set of domes that live in a lake at the Rotterdam Zoo.

Her idea is that people might do more to help and protect nature if they could see where and how nature needed our help.

So the orbs in the water function as glowing mood rings.

When the water is clean, there’s a pulsing blue glow.

When the water isn’t so clean, the orbs turn red and the light pattern changes.

The domes determine the right color thanks to a set of built-in sensors like the ones limnologists use to check water quality.

Plus, those sensors are powered by microbes.

There are bacteria that have electric charges pretty much anywhere you find organic material, including in water.

They provide enough of a charge so that the system can measure water quality once an hour.

They can only power the glowing orbs for like an hour a day or so, but that’s still enough to shed a little light on the water.

Starting this Saturday, it’s the Wamego. Kansas Tulip Festival.

There will be two days of arts, crafts, entertainment and, as you probably guessed from the name, lots and lots of colorful tulips.

These glowing orbs can tell you if water is clean or polluted (Fast Company)

Tulip Festival 2024

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Photo by sharyn morrow via Flickr/Creative Commons