Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) doctoral graduate You Wu has created a soft robot called Lighthouse that can find pipe leaks. Looking like a badminton shuttlecock, the robot can detect leaks as small as 4mm.
Because of the robots shape, it can go through elbows in the pipes and also adjust its size up to 20% to compensate for dirt and debris in the pipe.
According to Wu’s website, 20% of the world’s treated water is lost daily at cost of up to $200,000 per leak. Detecting the small leaks means they can be fixed before they turn into bigger leaks.
The robot is the winner of the 2018 James Dyson Award.