Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Background Information

The Aquaduct is a pedal-powered concept vehicle that transports, filters, and stores water for the developing world. The functional model was designed and constructed over a three-week period for the Innovate or Die contest hosted by Specialized Bicycles, Google, and Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.

The vehicle seeks to address the two main challenges with water in the developing world: sanitation and transportation. Water-related diseases kill thousands of people each day. Moreover, water sources can be miles away from the home, and women must walk these distances daily carrying heavy water vessels. The Aquaduct is designed to enable a person to sanitize and transport water simultaneously, potentially lessening the physical strain of the task and freeing up more time for work, education, or family.

As the rider pedals, a pump attached to the pedal crank draws water from a large holding tank, through a carbon filter, to a smaller, clean tank. A clutch engages and disengages the drive belt from the pedal crank, enabling the rider to filter the water while traveling or while stationary. The clean tank is removable and closed for contamination-free home storage and use.

In its current state, the Aquaduct is a prototype aimed squarely at demonstrating a concept and raising awareness around the issues of clean water in developing countries. Using IDEO’s expertise in human-centered design, in conjunction with guidance from industry experts, the Aquaduct team is working to evolve the concept into a viable solution. We are working not only to identify appropriate opportunities for the Aquaduct platform, but also to address the technical challenges such as cost, suitable purification technologies, and the logistics of addressing such a widespread crisis. The innovative combination of transportation and sanitation of water offers a unique approach to providing clean, drinkable water that could improve the lives of billions of people throughout the developing world.

14 comments:

mistagravity said...

You should consider building a handful, then renting them out to companies for large events (concerts, etc.)...tons of companies have 'street teams', brand ambassadors, etc. at these types of events..and with the 'Green' movement that most companies are taking you should have no problem finding ones to rent them (and wrap them with ads)...this will increase your $$ to fund a way to build more, and more cost effectively.

RogerS said...

This bike will save lots of lives in my country and other parts of
our world,maybe you need more ads in tv and internet.(sorry about my english)I post it in my blog ,ok?

Paladin said...

Congratulations this is so cool and I hope you stay excited about its development. Biggest issues: initial cost per bike, cost and in-country availability of parts and maintenance for the bike itself, tubes and containers, filter and its components ... things like that. Commonly great ideas hit the dirt in the field and because there is no plan for micro-industry building, ownership and/ or maintenance they just fade away -- as do the hopes of those who thought they might have an ongoing solution to a deadly problem. Also if it can be built or maintained with materials commonly-available in your target countries, that will overcome a huge obstacle. You have demonstrated great ingenuity in inventing this mechanism -- I pray you will continue to apply that to its real-world implementation and solve these ancillary issues with the same great imagination.

Self-a wair said...

Right on! I can imagine a slew of philanthropists and just plain smart people who would want to back this. It's so simple, and that's its appeal (let alone the fact that it uses "pedal power" and no fuel).

Paladin makes several good points. Please continue to pursue this.

Dragaon said...

It's an incredible idea and I hope it bears fruit and some serious financier picks it up. The only issue I can foresee is the fact that if the water filter is not replaced when it should be the filter would be contaminating the water as opposed to cleaning it. This would be a serious issue in small villages in Africa and elsewhere where availability of replacement filters may be a problem. Ideally a reusable, cleanable filter system would be perfect.
Good Luck!

bellavagabond said...

where can I buy one?

FalterNot said...

the aquaduct might be much more expensive than an invention such as the LifeStraw, which filters 700 litres of water for only $5, but bicycles are also essential in countries without transportation systems. unless your bicycles or water filtration technology is much more costly than market competitors, i see no good reason why financial contributors wouldnt invest in this product. however, 1000 gallons of desalinated water should only cost $4, and people talk about that as if its too expensive. people need to remember that youre not just giving people water, its a bike too.

beautiful work, you make the world proud. an innovative team utilizing their energy for the good of mankind and in this case, not for the own pockets. wonderful.

Paresh said...

Hi.
I am really happy to see such product being innovated by the people living in developed countries.

I was wondering if this cycle is available in India. If not, I'm interested in knowing whether you have decided to sell it in India.

Please let me know if you're looking for a distributor in India. You can contact me by email: parsum@gmail.com

Thanks a lot! cheers.

Meredith said...

I want one! I could take it to the weekly drum circle and give out free filtered water so that people wouldn't buy bottled water.

Actually, I have so many ideas for how and when to use this technology. Please keep us informed as to when they will be available for consumers to buy!

timhiggs said...

A friend of mine was asking a good question: "how can we sponsor an aquaduct?"

Would be an interesting thought to get a couple of friends together and buy an aquaduct for a family or community.

Willing to discuss
-- Tim
Khhenviros@gmail.com

earthcarer said...

wow this is really cool. just a few questions... is the bike made from recycled bikes/parts? cause there is plenty of them everywhere!
also, somebody mentioned the replacement of the water filter.. maybe research could be done in countries where this bike would be made available, for natural filtration resources eg. charcoal, sand, ceramic, diatomaceous earth. i just did a quick search but i think its definately worth further research if you go ahead with the aquaduct-which i think you definately should! if the filter can be managed by the user with free resources at hand it allows all people to make use of this forever and not become another short lived man made "thing" to add to the pile.
all designs need to be long term designs. this requires lots of research. no more quick fix temporary solutions, slow long lasting solutions that fix the issue not just hide it.
awesome stuff. love that people are using their creative minds to create a happier, healthier earth :)

Manuel Long said...

You have demonstrated great ingenuity in inventing this mechanism.
best water filters

Robert Singleton said...

This idea is so great, that to allow it to be held away from dying people by a lack of funding is intolerable. Crowdfunding can solve that problem. To minimize the risk of theft, allow villagers to earn money manufacturing and selling the aquaduct where it is needed, at a price subsidized by crowdfunding or microloans, if necessary. People who locally manufacture or use NURU energy powercycles that use pedal power to recharge LED lights and cell phones are not likely to steal aquaducts. See www.nuruenergy.com.

Robert Singleton said...

Why the aquaduct is better than lifestraw: It filters much larger amounts of water. It filters enough water for drinking, refrigeration, cooking, processing and making food and beverages, rinsing, flushing, baptism, washing hands, bodies, clothes, dishes, brushing teeth, and more. The Lifestraw only filters enough water for a drink in a dire emergency.

Plus, it facilitates moving water from the nearest pump to wherever it is needed, without the high cost of installing underground pipes and water treatment plants.