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Every day, more than 20 percent of all clean water produced around the world leaks from distribution pipes, creating shortages, destroying roads, and sucking away wetlands for wildlife. That’s why PipeGuard inventors built Daisy.
Daisy, a robot, locates leaks with her “skirt sensor” as she shimmies through water pipes. She can even find leaks too small for current technology to detect so companies can fix leaks before pipes burst.
Imagine the impact Daisy could have at scale in the future.
To that end, the PipeGuard team just won our $10,000 analytics prize at the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, one of the largest and most well-known business plan competitions in the world. This entrepreneurial battleground has brought more than 160 companies to life, including tech innovators such as Akamai and Hubspot. Booz Allen employees served as mentors to teams as well as judges for the competition.
PipeGuard, is the brainchild of You Wu, Jonathan Miller, and Daniel Gomez of MIT's Mechatronics Research Lab. Nine years ago, their Saudi Arabian research sponsor told the team that more than one-third of Saudi Arabia’s expensive, desalinated water in the nation leaks every day. The pipes are plastic and existing technology—which was developed for metallic pipes—couldn’t effectively detect leaks.
Technology like Daisy is critical to paving the way to smart cities.
“They [PipeGuard] are collecting a completely novel data set and doing some advanced signal processing to detect the leaks,” says JD Hannick, Booz Allen Hamilton’s lead for our partnership with the MIT $100K. “At its most basic form, they are enabling smart cities with an infrastructure that has no other way to become smart.”
Daisy represents a core theme of our thinking on the power of machine intelligence: accepting that machine models top mental models. You can read more on the value between human ingenuity and machine intelligence in our upcoming book, The Mathematical Corporation.
“Our support of the MIT $100K reflects our continued support for entrepreneurs who are developing disruptive analytics innovations,” says Principal Alex Cosmas, a MIT alumnus. “The real takeaway here is that the world's infrastructure is aging and we need solutions to address it. This technology can find where the infrastructure is most in need so that governments can prioritize repairs and replacements. And so, PipeGuard is a pioneer in making and keeping our cities smart.”
We believe in technology like Daisy because we know that data science and machine intelligence can solve society’s biggest problems. In fact, just a few months ago, our annual Data Science Bowl brought more than 10,000 teams together using data science to enable doctors to detect lung cancer earlier.
You can learn more about the work we’ve done at boozallen.com/analytics.