• Phil Brosnan, Catherine Lamb, Alia Cauty (Junior Excellence Award), Michelle Fan

Alia Cauty, Inventor (12)

Junior Excellence Award 2018 (Innovation)

12 year old Northcross Intermediate student Alia Cauty developed an original system that can detect a water leak anywhere in your plumbing/pipework.

"I spent a lot of time learning and becoming familiar with the C programming language, working with and modifying flow meters, shut off valves, and electronic components in order to be able to develop a system that can detect leaks,” explained Alia to the AIMES Award judges. "I did this as a technology project for Northcross Intermediate's annual science fair.”
Alia says to improve her product and make it marketable it will need to have a good quality (positive displacement) water meter that can generate consistent flow signals for a wide range of flow levels.
It will need plumbing attachments that enable quick and easy installation into existing pipework. It will also need a remote power source since the ideal location to install a leak detector system is as close as possible to the water mains-supply connection which is usually on property boundaries. The solenoid shutoff valve requires more power than the monitoring system so the valve could be replaced with a wireless link to an alarm in a building.
Alia's teacher (Wendy Johnston), deputy principal (Christina England), and principal (Jonathan Tredray) of Northcross Intermediate supported her into entering the AIMES Awards as they believed the project is original and could potentially be marketed and help many households avoid water leak costs and damage.
"I think if I won funds from the awards, it could help me get one step closer to the finished development of the product and possibly manufacturing leak detector units,” added Alia.
Alia is clearly a very clever young lady. In 2017, for her school science project, with some assistance Alia designed and built electronic circuits to work as an electronic register to record which students arrive at school each day. Each morning students can push a “present” button next to their name when they enter the classroom. All aimed at saving time every day on class role-calling.
Throughout her school years Alia has been one of the top academic achievers. Her strongest subject is mathematics. Her small Mathex team recently came third in the North Shore Mathex competition (41 teams entered from 15 schools).
"I always enjoy learning new things and learning how to programme in C language for my science project was a big learning step," says Alia. "I’m also in the Independent Learners Class (ILC) at Northcross Intermediate which has entry restrictions accepting only top academic achievers."
Alia details her future aspirations."I would like this project to be developed further to be commercially manufacturable and saleable to help early detection of water leaks in buildings and properties preventing expensive damage and water loss. I would also like to become an innovator, an environmental scientist/engineer/planner or an interior designer – something that requires creativity."

Alia Cauty receives the Junior Excellence Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Library Lane and NZ Force Construction – including a cash grant of $3,000.