Designed by Dr. You Wu, the Lighthouse robot is a clever low-cost automaton built to swim through pipes and discover any leaks. Modeled after a badminton birdie, the Lighthouse robot recently won the 2018 James Dyson Award and aims to eliminate water loss through leaking. The robot itself features a soft "skirt" covered in sensors. The "skirt" and sensors detect suction from leaks and registers even subtle suction tugs.
Wu is hoping to further develop the Lighthouse robot and wants to further augment the robot so water companies can use the device on their own. At the moment, Wu must accompany the robot to a site to guide it, but future innovations could allow for more intuitive controls.