LIVINGSTON, NJ — The five members of Livingston Robotics Club’s Team Promethio, made up of 6th, 7th and 8th graders, presented a solution for water conservation to the mayor and council on Monday, five days before they make the same presentation to a panel of judges in the next round of the First Lego League (FLL) robotics competition in Mount Olive on Saturday.
Team Promethio—which includes 8th graders Raina Batra and Aryan Bansal; 7th grader Heainz Manoj; and 6th graders Daniel Tavera and Logan Slavin—was tasked with creating a solution to address a problem that many communities face with excessive water consumption. The group demonstrated the product to the mayor and council and invited questions and feedback following their presentation.
“This is a jaw-dropping accomplishment,” said Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein. “I’m watching the councilmen’s faces and everyone is almost laughing because they can’t believe how impressive this is and how proud it makes us of our town. It speaks to our school system and it speaks to our parents’ involvement and coaching of the kids. It’s fantastic stuff, really jaw-dropping, amazing stuff.”
The group members said that they believe their product could benefit Livingston in the long run, and the members of the council agreed.
“With climate change, we’re seeing more droughts, forest fires, super storms and natural disasters every year and all of these occurrences are affecting our water supply,” said Raina Batra. “We have built an innovative solution to help us conserve our water.”
Aryan Bansal explained how water wastage is affecting Livingston’s water supply while Heainz Manoj described how residents can conserve water to help the environment and the planet.
“We think first step is to get people to recognize that they’re wasting water,” said Manoj. “We waste water every day in our lives and don’t realize it.”
Team Promethio believes they have come up with a solution to not only educate the public and help them preserve water through their product, which features a water-flow sensor that can be attached to any water output.
“As the sensor’s internal pinwheel moves, electrical pulses are generated, which we use to calculate the flow rate of water passing through using the Magnetic Hall Effect principle,” said Logan Slavin.
The group explained how this is different from the water meters many residents already have in their basement.
“For one, it gives you data in real time,” said Bansal. “Also, our solution is not merely a device, but also a fun, educational habit-changing platform. It takes data from all the sensors throughout the house and uploads into the Cloud.”
Daniel Tavera elaborated on the application the group has developed that pairs to the sensor and will notify the user when he or she is getting close to exceeding his or her consumption goals. The group compared the product to a Fitbit in that it’s motivating, impactful and encourages users to compete with their friends and others in the area through the app to see who can consume less water.
Every time the user turns on a faucet, he or she would receive instant, visual, colorful feedback telling the user how much water has been consumed. Advanced artificial intelligence is used to determine when the user reaches consumption goals based on the current usage trends. The product would cost a little more than $30 and would not require professional installation, according to the group.
“If I take EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data on how much it costs to purify our water and then take how much water you would conserve by cutting back on showers, watering your lawn less, not leaving the water on when you brush your teeth and washing the dishes, Americans can save $3.3 billion a year on water consumption—and that’s a lot of water,” said Batra.
In the long run, the group intends to bring this solution to the EPA and to improve the circuit for design to make it more compact, self-powered and ideal for mass-production. Team Promethio also hopes to circle back to the council in a few months to offer a town-wide pilot in order to hear the voices of future consumers and incorporate them into their product.
On behalf of the entire council, Klein spoke about the council’s commitment to water conservation within the township and encouraged the group to continue their effort on this initiative.
“Because we also care about water conservation, the town has been going through a process where we have tried to identify the underground leaks in our own pipes and we have saved 20 percent of our water consumption in the last couple years in repairing those leaks,” said Klein. “So we’ve been very careful and saved the town a lot of money and a lot of wasted water by going after our infrastructure and trying to repair those things, so we agree with what you’re doing.”
Team Promethio’s product recently surpassed the qualifying round of the FLL robotics competition in Sparta. The five members will head to Mount Olive on Saturday for the statewide competition.