The tiny device, developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo, uses nanotechnology to power itself and send an alert to smartphones when exposed to moisture.
Water leaks are the leading cause of property losses in apartments, offices and other buildings, resulting in expensive repairs and higher insurance premiums.
The new sensor, which is smaller than a nickel at five millimeters in diameter, is comprised of stacked nanoparticles. When the nanoparticles get wet, a chemical reaction produces enough electricity to power a wireless radio and additional sensors to record environmental conditions such as temperature.
The wireless radio and other sensors are on a circuit board packaged with the leak sensor in a box just three centimeters square.