‘Lighthouse’ Mini-Robot to Find Leaks in Water Pipes Wins US Dyson Award for 2018

Published by , September 10, 2018 12:52 pm

(FastCompany) The U.S. winner of the 2018 James Dyson Award is a low-cost robot named Lighthouse that is designed to find leaks in water pipes early, both to save water and to avoid bigger damage later from bursting water mains. The robot resembles badminton birdie. A soft “skirt” on the device is covered with sensors. As it travels through pipes, propelled by the flowing water, suction tugs at the device when there’s a leak, and it records the location, making a map of critical leaks to fix.
MIT doctoral student You Wu spent six years developing the design, building on research that earlier students began under a project sponsored by a university in Saudi Arabia, where most drinking water comes from expensive desalination plants and around a third of it is lost to leaks.