Austin middle schoolers design innovative flood sensor

Source: KXAN on April 11, 2017 | Amanda Dugan

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Growing up near Bull Creek, Laya Yalamanchili and Satvik Dasari know how fierce flood waters can take lives. The Canyon Vista Middle School students have developed a new flood gauge that will help first responders save lives.

“It made us very sad to see that have happened. It’s so close, it could have happened to any of us. It could have even been us. We were compelled to do something,” says Yalamanchili.

“We wanted to create a device to save lives and lower the fatalities of drowning while driving,” adds Dasari.

For their school science fair, the two developed HydroAlert, an innovative flood warning sensor. The device shoots an ultrasonic sensor into the surface of Bull Creek, measuring how far it currently sits from the road. The data is then uploaded to the HydroAlert app–which the students also designed–every 15 seconds. LED lights on the device changes colors (green, yellow or red) depending on how close the water is getting to the roadway.

Their project caught the eye of Austin Watershed and the Austin Fire Department. The agencies want to study how the device would inform first responders in real-world conditions.

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