Our contribution to the Keysight IoT Innovation Challenge is a smart water meter that is non-invasive, meaning that it clamps to the outside of any plastic pipe in the range of 15-25 mm in outer diameter. It has ultrasonic transducers, i.e. piezo crystals that are coupled to the pipe using our solid couplant.
Non-invasive water meters are frequently used in industrial applications to temporarily check flows using expensive meters that are difficult to use, and require ultrasonic gel to be applied onto the conduit to function. This ultrasonic gel works perfectly fine for about 2-3 days, but dries out and renders these expensive meters useless. Our solid, rubber-like couplant enables the ultrasonic waves to propagate through the conduit without drying out, which opens up the possibility to meter water permanently using this somewhat established technology.
Perhaps the best thing about non-invasive meters is that they can be retrofitted without any plumbers, which saves both cost and installation time. Our meters will not deteriorate over time either, as it is not in direct contact with water, and because it does not have any mechanically moving parts. All of this means that our meter is very scalable, which is absolutely crucial if we are to make a real impact on the environment. Only if we create a product which allows everyone to get onboard without much effort will we be able to tackle the perhaps greatest problem known to man: an unsustainable world.
By sampling data frequently, we are able to extract more information from our meters than for example mechanical water meters. We can correlate the temperature of the water with the speed of sound for the ultrasonic pulses to propagate through the pipe. If the temperature of the hot water pipes drop below 55°C, there is a high risk of the deathly bacteria Legionella to grow. By alarming whenever this occurs, the property manager(s) and the tenants can avoid drinking the water temporarily and flush the system clean.
Furthermore, if contaminants are present in the water, we are able to detect it thanks to the anomaly in our data collection and send this information as well.
Different water outlets have different flow-patterns, and by analyzing our gathered data, we can reach valuable conclusions. Our system can in other words differentiate whether flow is headed toward e.g. a toilet tank, or if it is being used in the shower. Naturally following, our meter can detect anomalies in the flow (i.e. leaks in the form of dripping or burst pipes), and send alerts both to the property manager and to the tenants so that the time to action is reduced significantly.
By eventually certifying our meter according to the international standards (OIML) with an accredited body, we aim to prove its accuracy and enable property managers to bill their tenants for the actual consumption.
We believe that there is still much left to do for the environment and one of life’s most important resources is often forgotten - water. There are regions in the world where water scarcity is a fact and yet there is little to no data available of one’s consumption. How much water do you use while showering? Using the dishwasher? There is no feasible way of measuring the usage. We aim to change this. Studies show that by paying for your consumption, the awareness of water consumption that follows actually reduces waste up to 30%, meaning a tremendous positive impact on the environment while benefiting customers economically. Our ambition is to spark a currently non-existing awareness where householders may compare their impact, savings and much more, seamlessly through the smart device of their choice. By creating a personalized saving plan, anyone can reduce their water bill, while contributing to a sustainable planet by changing old habits and achieving a sustainable water behavior. A win-win concept is a winning concept.
With no similar products available on the market, we will set a new standard. Making an environmentally conscious decision should not be a matter of sacrificing economical resources; this would discourage users from doing good. However, if there are both economical and environmental wins, the choice is obvious. This is Labtrino’s objective.