Using a Soft, Skirt-Wearing Robot to Detect Water Leaks Before They Spread

Cracks in water pipes start off extremely small, and are thus impossible to detect over many miles of pipes. Over time water does its thing, steadily widening the crack until catastrophe ensues and you have a water main break. If the crack could have been detected when it was still miniscule, it would have been easy, quick and cheap to repair. Cleaning up after a water main break, however, is a messy, prolonged and expensive affair.

Robotics engineer Dr. You Wu spent six years creating...

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