An unspoiled ride: Bike that cleans water wins pedal-powered product design contest

Environmentalists have long advocated bicycle commuting as a way of reducing the harmful emissions from automobiles. But the winners of an innovative product design contest have developed a prototype for bicycle that also combats water pollution.

02/22/2008


Environmentalists have long advocated bicycle commuting as a way of reducing the harmful emissions from automobiles. But who ever thought that riding a bicycle might also be a way of combating water pollution?
The members of
Morgan Hill, Calif-based Specialized Bicycles
Specialized used its Globe utility bike to generate publicity for the contest that challenged participants to create a pedal-powered solution for offsetting climate change. Other partners in the contest included Google , and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners , a San Francisco-based advertising agency.
The Aqueduct Mobile Filtration Vehicle was given the top prize amidst more than 100 qualified entries. The Aqueduct vehicle, which transports water and filters it while in motion, was designed to address the 1.1 billion people in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. The machine transports and filters water without burning fossil fuels or wood, which contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions.
“The most significant part of the design is that it integrates both transportation and sanitation,” says Eleanor Morgan, a member of the team that developed Aqueduct. The system works by filling up a large tank that is stored on the back of the bicycle. A peristaltic pump attached to the pedal crank draws water from the large tank through a carbon filter to a smaller clean tank. Then, the clean tank is removed and closed for contamination-free home storage and use.
Before Aqueduct was created, the team of five brainstormed for ways to harness human pedal power for environmental impact. “We thought of ideas that could put out fires or fry and egg, but settled on water fairly quickly,” says Adam Mack, team leader, and an engineer for IDEO design firm in Palo Alto, Calif.
The team also was inspired by coworkers’ research projects on India and Africa. “In developing countries, women typically carry water from sources that may be four to seven miles from their homes,” says Mack. “Also, a family of four requires a minimum of 20 gallons of water a day.”
Working on a tight timeline, the team met once a week for the first month to brainstorm and collaborate. “Most of our work was hands-on with iterations done on-the-fly,” says Mack. “We story boarded our concept and looked for demographics. We sketched out our designs and dimensions and used a lot of post-it notes.”
CAD systems were used to model the design in 3D, and the team also used foam core and fiberglass to build the prototype. “We tried to consider usability in our design and what is most practical,” says Mack. The team split up tasks, working on projects individually before moving into the shop for actual welding and building.
Although the contest allowed the team to design for a real world problem, Mack stresses that the vehicle is not designed for manufacture. “Aqueduct is like a concept car—it is not feasible for the developing world because most of the materials are not available in African villages. Plus, we would need to do more testing and research to figure out how to implement it in reality.”
The judges, who included representatives from each participating company, were impressed with the quality and creativity of all entries, says Mike Sinyard, CEO of Specialized Bicycles. “Many teams completed at least 400 to 500 hours of research.”
“We wanted to create an awareness of the environmental benefits of pedal-powered energy and the possibilities of what you can do with a bicycle,” says Sinyard. The contest also hoped to stress the growing need to find alternative energy sources and modes of transportation by building solutions people can use to help make a difference.
Although the contest was geared toward university students and engineers, it attracted a wide range of participants. Sinyard attributes this to the promotion of the contest by Google, which advertised the contest on its Website and hosted video clip entries on YouTube .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me