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.