(Above, the team of budding engineers at Long Reach treatment works)
A smart group of budding young engineers have successfully trialled their award-winning water saving device at a Thames Water treatment works.
The innovative youngsters, Elye Cutherbertson, 13, Saul Cuthbertson, 9, Atticus Ticheli, 12 and Alex Lynch, 16, all from London, were praised by the company after winning the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s First LEGO League UK award for developing a water saving device for disabled people.
Called the Water Watcher, it reminds people to turn the tap off by using an in-built vibration sensor and timer which sounds an alarm if the water has been left running for too long.
The device is designed for those who have illnesses such as dementia or who are visually impaired, and helps protect precious supplies in the water-stressed south east region.
Thames Water’s education manager Paul Hampton said: “There’s a great need for young people with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) based skills in the water industry and it was encouraging to see such talent and innovation within the team.
“The Water Watcher has great potential and is a wonderful idea to help support dementia sufferers and as a water efficiency device, especially with increasing demands on resources in our region due to population growth and climate change.
“We wish the team great success and hope they will consider joining one of our apprenticeships in the near future.”
During their tour of Thames Water’s Long Reach site in Dartford, they took feedback on how the device could further be improved.
This involved using a BBC micro:bit – a software system designed by the BBC for use in computer education – to create a working prototype and the team now aim to make the device much smaller and affordable for use in every home.
The team has also been shortlisted in the LEGO competition’s global equivalent competition. Speaking of the award win, Elye said: “We were so pleased to have won a project award for an innovation that can help everyone to save water. We can’t wait to compete again internationally!”
(Below, the device in action)