Pure Water Bottle
Pure Water Bottle
A water bottle designed for Adventure Tourists, Aid workers and NGO’s which filters and sterilises water from almost any source within two minutes. The product uses a wind up mechanism and is not reliant to external batteries or power.
Timothy Whitehead, Designer, Director of Pure Water Technology
Pure Water Bottle
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
The challenge was to find a way of filtering and sterilising water quickly from any source anywhere in the world. While travelling though Zambia, Africa I realised the reliance people have on chlorine and iodine tablets; these take about 30 minutes to create safe drinking water and leave an unpleasant taste. The aim was to create a product which was compact and light enough for travelling tourists to carry around, while providing; safe, clean and sterile drinking water quickly.
I found that people wanted a simple, easy to use product which worked quickly and effectively. I discovered that by using a big filter you reduced the volume of water to can carry. Consequently, I opted for a compact filter with a ultra-violet light bulb to sterilise the water. UV has the added advantage of no distortion to taste. Another challenge to overcome was the power required to power the bulb. I decided not to rely on batteries, but instead I used a wind-up generator, giving limitless supplies of power on-demand.
In the development of Pure I became really excited as I realised that I have achieved all my aims, the product was simple and easy to operate and provided the user with their needs. I feel that the solution has a wider potential than just adventure tourists and Aid worker and can in fact be used by people living in developing countries who have little or no access to clean drinking water.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
I wanted to achieve a clever system which was simple and efficient. I became frustrated that the only current solutions for sterilising water took 30 minutes and left a horrible taste, or were so big that they were not practical to carry around. I based my design on the concept of a cafetiere, I took an idea which everyone knew and understood this idea was adapted for my product.
The brief originally concentrated on Adventure Tourists and Aid workers, but I decided that I also wanted to make the product accessible for people living within the developing world who have little or no access to clean safe drinking water. This meant that simplicity was crucial and I wanted to minimise the learning of the product.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
When designing Pure I focused primarily on the usability of the design. I wanted to create a product which everyone could use simply and effectively, which was easy and intuitive to use. I initially identified myself as a user, however having a biased opinion I asked a number of other individuals for their opinion and views on the product. These were individuals who had experienced working and living in developing countries.
Due to the nature of the product cost was very important. I ensured that there was an emphasis on the manufacturing and assembly of the design to minimise the cost while creating a well engineered product.
The current stage of the design means that the distribution and retailing have not been fully investigated and explored. However this is being planned as part of the next phase.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
The design followed an academic program and was rigorous. Initially, I set out to create a better design solution to the problem I experienced in Zambia. I identified travellers and tourists who experienced similar problems and interviewed them using and open and informal style. This was used to identify the initial problems with current solutions and to understand the real needs of the users.
Exploration of ideas and technology followed. I was aware that the users didn’t want big, bulky units which couldn’t carry much liquid. They also didn’t want to rely on external power sources. An initial review of current technology solutions followed and ultra-violet was highlighted as the best solution for size, weight and effectiveness. It was then decided that a simple wind up generator should added to the top of the product to provide power to the bulb which would sterilise the water. Testing was carried out at Loughborough University to ensure the wind up bulb was suitable to sterilise the required water. During this testing it was found that the water had to be visibly clear, in order to achieve this, a filter was custom designed to be efficient yet also compact. The filter and the combination of the filter and bulb were again tested at Loughborough University. It was proven to filter and sterilise water and kill 99.9% of bacteria.
A mock up was then produced for user evaluation and testing. Simple electronics were made to measure the amount of winding required and to ensure the bulb was getting sufficient power. Once the handle had been wound for 90 seconds at the correct threshold the lights turn green to inform the user that the water is now safe to drink. This was again tested with users to ensure they understood when the water was safe to drink. Feedback was used to inform future design decisions.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
Pure improves the quality of life by providing one of man’s most basic needs: Safe drinking water.
• 13% of the world's population still rely on unimproved water sources.
• Of the 884 million people within the African Regions 61% live without access to safe drinking water.
• Almost one fifth of the world's population (about 1.2 billion people) live in areas where the water is physically scarce (WHO, 2010).
Pure has been designed to improve the quality of life, of people from less fortunate backgrounds. It gives them the ability to have safe, sterile drinking water anywhere and anytime. When away from home people living in developing counties have little or no access to safe drinking water. Pure, can enable these people to have access to safe, treated water in any location. No chemicals are using during Pure’s treatment cycle which makes is better for both the environment and the users health. Pure combines innovative technology within a simple, useable form; this makes it easy to use correctly; minimising user error and misuse.
Another key use of Pure is within natural disasters. We have seen many earthquakes and tsunami’s which create huge devastation. In the aftermath of these events there is a lot of water, yet people have no means of drinking the water. Pure can be used in these situations to quickly filter and sterilise the water.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
There is a little work to be carried out on the seals around the filter of the design. They currently work but not as effectively as hoped. During testing it was found that some of the water leaked through. This is a relatively small improvement to the design but if it could be designed again I would address that area from the outset.
Otherwise I would not change the design.
A quick and relatively easy solution to one of the most difficult barriers to enjoyable travel: safe water. It has relevance well beyond the adventure tourists who are targeted. Those working in disaster-affected areas could be among the major beneficiaries.