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Pitch: A Robot that Detects Leaks in Underground Water Pipes

20 percent of all our produced clean water worldwide every day is lost because of leaks in our networks of pipes according to Pipeguard.

That’s dangerous and expensive: On the one hand, the world is losing valuable clean water. Pipeguard estimates that Boston loses $17 million worth of water per year. On the other hand, leaks are often found only after they cause a major break costing on average $200,000 in property damage each.

And just last week, the Guardian ran an article on water firms in the United Kingdom who use discredited medieval practices like divining rods to locate leaks.

Pipeguard developed a robot called Robot Daisy that can help solve this problem:

A technician inserts the small, hand-sized robot into a pipe at a fire hydrant.

The robot travels through the pipe, experiencing and recording pulling forces from the suction at any leaks.

The technician pulls the robot out once it reaches a downstream fire hydrant.

The robot and Pipeguard’s cloud service then creates a precise map of the water pipe along with any data on leaks.

Those leaks can then be prioritized and fixed before they lose more water or cause structural damage.

Watch Pipeguard Research and Product Lead You Wu pitch Robot Daisy before becoming a Solver in the Sustainable Urban Communities Challenge:

Read the solution application for Pipeguard. Interested in partnering with them as they pilot and scale their pitch? Solve wants to hear from you. Reach out at

You Wu holds a Robot Daisy in his hand to show the audience as he pitches Pipeguard at the Solve Challenge Finals in the Sustainable Urban Communities Challenge, September 17, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Stuart / MIT Solve)

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Sustainable Urban Communities

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Solve Challenge Finals 2017

Apella | New York City

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