UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

2019 Ray of Hope Grand Prize Winner

Boston, MA, USA

Innovation Details

Twenty percent of the world’s cleaned and pumped water is lost due to leaking pipes. To combat this problem Watchtower created a next-generation, flexible robot to inspect water pipes and easily locate leaks for utilities to fix.

Watchtower uses proprietary pressure sensors inspired by the Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus, also known as the blind cave fish) to detect leaks by looking for suction force in the walls of a pipe.  The robot is propelled by water flows within the pipe and has a soft, octopus-like body, allowing it to compress to 50% its original size and bend in various directions to maneuver through pipes and avoid obstacles.


Image: Watchtower Robotics / Watchtower Robotics / Copyright © - All rights reserved

Product prototype