LeakKiller Design Challenge Q&As
Thanks for sending your questions in with regards to the LeakKiller design challenge.
Questions and answers will be added here to support all our community engineers that are taking part in the design challenge.
IoT aspect of the design challenge
Q1: Could you specify the purpose of the IOT aspect of the challenge and what function it might ultimately allow Legal and General to achieve, e.g. perhaps a remote monitoring service over Wi-Fi/Internet?
One of the major aspects of this design challenge is to encourage innovation – to think of new and improved ways of doing things. One of the more obvious functions of the IoT aspect is to provide homeowners with an app that would allow them to turn off their stopcock remotely in the event of a water leak. But what else might be useful?
To encourage ‘blue sky thinking’ and open innovation, Legal & General have set aside additional prize money (on top of the £15,000 total cash prize) to reward innovation. In addition to the main parts of the challenge, if you come up with a different idea that ‘changes the game’ and significantly lowers costs, could you receive a special innovation award.
Q2: I would like to see the definition files (i.e. machine.py, network.py etc.) for the Pycom associated python classes that I am importing so that I know all the classes and methods I have available to use in my project.
The entire source code for Pycom’s modules is available on GitHub at: https://github.com/pycom/pycom-micropython-sigfox
This repository includes code for both LoRa and Sigfox radios.
Non-intrusive element of the challenge
Q1: If the flow sensor is required to be non-intrusive then would the stopcock need to be a similarly retro-fitted device, as opposed to replacing it with a solenoid valve? I do have a Hall-effect flow sensor and a solenoid valve that I could use but I am assuming that these would not meet requirements?
Q2: How important is it that the water flow sensor cannot be placed into the pipe? Is this an absolute no-no?
Q3: Can the stopcock be replaced with a stopcock of my own design?
Q4: There are many different types of stopcock. Some have a handle, others don't. This presents a challenge in mounting. Can my prototype be designed to work with just a single type of stopcock, or do I have to accommodate all different handle types?
We would like designs to closely meet requirements, but want to hear from the community what is viable. We are aiming for a low-cost, simple-to-deploy solution, which remains reliable. If you deviate from the specification, just explain your logic and reasoning.
In a perfect world, the challenge will find an amazing, non-intrusive solution; however, with 6 main types of stopcock and a range of areas to consider, we realise that this is a tall order. Complete retrofit is the priority and the ideal scenario, but if for example, you came up with a brilliant solution that would only work in new builds, but would exponentially reduce costs and change the way we fit out a new home for the better, it could attract an innovation award separately from the main competition.
You could design a new stopcock, as long as it meets all the requirements. The idea is to have something that can be very widely deployed. If your solution only addresses a fraction of the market, it will be less economically viable.
Device power considerations
Lastly, could you explain the purpose of the unit being battery powered?
- Wi-Fi and actuator elements will deplete battery-charge quite often and it is my understanding that the system will be statically installed in a domestic household environment, so the need for remote power has me confused, am I wrong in my understanding?
- It was my original intent to use a 12 volt DC mains adapter to bring voltages down to safe levels using approved COTS hardware but now I am unsure, would this still be acceptable?
Again, we don’t want to drown out innovation by being too specific in our requirements, but in an ideal world we would have no need for either and come up with a self-powering device that somehow generates and harvests energy from the water flow!
We are not experts, so we definitely want to hear from you, even if it is not exactly as per our initial specification. Just explain your reasoning for the design decisions made and we will consider it.
Think big, think bold, and think outside of the box…