Pedal-powered washer could help alleviate third world water poverty
Product design students from the Art Centre College of Design in Los Angeles have developed a pedal-powered washing machine and spin dryer for the third world that could help alleviate issues related to water poverty.
The innovative, patent-pending device was developed after students Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You spent two weeks in the slums of Cerro Verde, Peru. There they saw women spending days on end hauling water and washing clothes by hand and they came up with a solution.
Inexpensive and portable, GiraDora is a blue bucket that conceals a spinning mechanism that washes clothes and then partially dries them. It's operated by a foot pedal, while the user sits on the lid to stabilise the rapidly churning contents. Sitting alleviates lower back pain associated with hand washing clothes, and frees up the washer to pursue other tasks.
GiroDora is self-contained, requires no electricity and can be used anywhere; near a water source or inside on a rainy day, for example. It is said to reduce health risks like joint problems, skin irritation and mould inhalation. Most importantly, it uses far less water and cleans clothes faster than conventional hand washing. This, according to Cabunoc, equates to more free time and the opportunity to 'break the cycle of poverty'.
The cost of the device at present is $40 (£26). Cabunoc and You received a NCIIA E-Team grant of $19,500 (approx. £12,000) in July to commercialise GiraDora and get it into the mainstream. They hope to complete field testing in a year and begin selling the devices in South America within three years before moving on to India.
A short video demonstrating GiraDora in action can be seen below. For more information visit http://www.behance.net/gallery/GiraDora-human-powered-washer-spin-dryer/4519945.
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