Lab-on-a-Fish integrates location, heartbeat, tail beat, and even the temperature of the surrounding environment
Lab-on-a-Fish uses multiple sensors to wirelessly track location, heartbeat, tail movement, and even temperature of the surrounding environment. Credit: Michael Perkins | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

A new fitness tracker that is similar to a Fitbit for fish is revealing new information about fish health and behavior. The first-of-its-kind device uses multiple sensors to track what a fish experiences in real-time.

The Lab-on-a-Fish is a cost-effective way to monitor fish health and behavior, according to Daniel Deng, a Lab Fellow and mechanical engineer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The device, a type of biosensor, can simultaneously collect data about a fish, including its location, heartbeat, tail movement, and burned calories, as well as the temperature, pressure, and magnetic field of its surrounding environment. This information can help scientists and managers understand the impact of climate change and infrastructure development on the health of the environment.

Learning how to fish out of stress.

The Lab-on-a-Fish was inspired by more than a decade of work by Deng and other scientists at PNNL. The law requires hydropower facilities to assure that migratory fish species, such as salmon, are able to swim upstream to the rivers where they reproduce. Scientists can use lab-on-a-Fish to monitor fish passage success and to identify physical stressors at specific points along their journey.

Tracking data can be used to link stress in a fish with detailed environmental, health and behavior data. This is the first time that this information can be integrated in this way.

Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The number of sensors that can be put into one device has limited the number of fish tags that can be used. The Lab-on-a-Fish is about the size of a pen cap and can collect data for up to eight months. Scientists can study smaller species for a longer time now.

This award-winning biosensor is inserted under the skin of a fish. As the fish swims, a wireless receiver picks up a sound.

tags that are smart

Once scientists get the data from a wireless receiver or device, they can use machine learning to tease out patterns.

Lab-on-a-Fish has a built-in algorithm that helps make that data meaningful.

Deng and his colleagues designed a device to help environmental managers evaluate the environmental performance and safety of hydropower technology. The device has been successfully tested in the lab on three fish species, but its commercial applications extend to other economically important species.

Deng and his team are working on the next-generation Lab-on-a-Fish, which will tailor the device to specific user needs. In the future, this technology could be used to monitor a range of aquatic and terrestrial species.

The Lab-on-a-Fish: Wireless, Miniaturized, fully Integrated, Implantable Biotelemetric Tag for Realtime In Vivo Monitoring of Aquatic Animals was published in the Internet of Things.

More information: Yang Yang et al, Lab-on-a-Fish: Wireless, Miniaturized, Fully Integrated, Implantable Biotelemetric Tag for Real-time In Vivo Monitoring of Aquatic Animals, IEEE Internet of Things Journal (2021). DOI: 10.1109/JIOT.2021.3126614 Citation: Lab-on-a-Fish integrates location, heartbeat, tail beat, and even the temperature of the surrounding environment (2022, April 4) retrieved 4 April 2022 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.