Leak-detection startup wins Concept $5K challenge

Monday, March 29, 2021

Four Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Masters students are the latest winners of UWaterloo's Concept $5K challenge.

Nathan Johnson, Connor Al-Joundi, Kushant Patel, and Jarren Teo, represented AquaSensing in Velocity's 2021 Concept $5K challenge. Launched by George Shaker and Water Institute member Norman Zhou in 2019, AquaSensing designs battery-free water leak detection systems that reduce environmental footprint, upfront costs, and recurring maintenance requirements.

The sensors can be installed in previously inaccessible places as they are only five millimetres in diameter and are comprised of stacked nanoparticles. When they are exposed to moisture a chemical reaction occurs to produce electricity.

Nanoparticles generate electricity when exposed to humidity, water or any other liquid. The basis of the battery-free sensor is a tiny white cube just a few centimetres square. Inside the cube, is an energy harvesting board. Upon a water leak, the nano materials inside the cube activate and generate electricity to power an onboard wireless radio. This process all takes place inside the cube.

The system can be set up so that when a leak occurs an instant notification is sent directly to a smartphone.

The team members shared advice with future entrepreneurs:

Learn more about the company here.

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