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New Virginia Aquarium exhibit “pings”

Courtesy Virginia Aquarium

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s new interactive and unusual  “Fish and Chips” exhibit utilizes a Radio Frequency Identification System to provide detailed information about the majority of fish in the aquarium. It is the only program of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

The permanent exhibit features a simple antenna that senses a microchip in the fish. As they swim past a monitor located on the outside of the tank, it “pings” and instantly provides information on the species, habitat, origin and other facts on a computer screen for visitors to read.

For instance, you may discover that a croaker, which has been nicknamed “Kermit,” was found in Virginia Beach’s Rudee Inlet, weighs 1.7 pounds and was brought into the aquarium during the summer of 2010.

The tiny microchip, harmlessly injected under the fish’s skin while it is lightly sedated, works similar to the identification technology used in household pets.