Networking & Communications

Drip, Drip, Drip. . .

March 1, 2005 By: Melanie Martella, Sensors Sensors

For apartment dwellers or others living in multifamily buildings, keeping track of how much water you use and spotting when things are going awry in the plumbing is an insidious and difficult problem. Letting a leaky tap or a wonky toilet valve go unchecked also wastes a lot of water.

Wellspring Intl. has teamed up with Ember Corp. to create a self-forming, self-healing wireless mesh network of Aqura submeters. The ZigBee-based meters provide real-time data for water usage (showers, toilet flushes, dishwasher cycles, and hot and cold water flow time). Readings are automatically collected from the network several times a day and uploaded to Wellspring's data and billing center. From there, the billing information is available to residents, apartment owners, and third-party billing services.

Combining a flowmeter with wireless communications, the low-cost battery-operated nodes are installed on every water line at the point of use, e.g., behind toilets, under sinks, and behind the bathtub's water spout. From this you get an accurate picture of how much water is being used and where, and spot problems before they get serious.

Contact Ravi Sharma, Ember Corp., Boston, MA; 617-951-1236,, Or contact Chris Dale, Wellspring Intl., San Diego, CA; 858-824-0900,,

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