It's described as a first-of-its kind technology that will help fish farms keep their operations safe from harmful algae blooms.
The machine learning software and a custom digital microscope automatically identify harmful algae in water.
It has earned Jason Deglint an award from Mitacs --- a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.
Deglint is co-founder of Waterloo startup Blue Lion Labs, as well as a Mitacs postdoctoral researcher in Engineering at the University of Waterloo.
He got the idea to develop the technology while completing his PhD.
"Essentially, if fish farms want to know what types of organisms are in their water today, the sample ends up on a slide with a human looking at it," Deglint explained, noting that most samples are shipped off-site and results can take up to one week.
"It’s a tedious, time-consuming task that’s prone to human error. Even the best-case scenario of an on-site technician takes three to four hours to return a result, meaning fish farms typically sample from one location, once a day," he added.
The award was presented during a virtual ceremony on Thursday.