View Full Version : I love ideas like this

Joe (SoCal)
01-26-2008, 03:35 PM

Google sponsered a $5000 contest for coming up with a method to provide rural communities with water—an endeavor that doesn't sound glorious, but is quite important to thirsty people. Aquaduct, the winning team, created a bicycle that can both help transport water quickly and easily, but clean that water at the same time! Congrats to Aquaduct.

This is one of those times when design works.

Duncan Gibbs
01-26-2008, 04:55 PM
Nice design! It would be interesting to see how easy and cheaply it would be to produce these on a grand mass scale to get it to all the millions - may billions - people that need access to clean drinking water. Maybe our combined militaries could do something good for a change (rank generalisation, I know; but you get where I coming from).

It would also be interesting to see if the design could be adapted on the ground to fit peoples' existing bikes, if they have one already. It probably wouldn't look quite as schmick but if it works... Who cares about the aesthetics!

The Bigfella
01-26-2008, 05:21 PM
Who cares about the aesthetics!

Tell that to an architect.

Duncan Gibbs
01-26-2008, 05:28 PM
Ohh! I am an architect... Well, Landscape architect!! :D:D

Joe (SoCal)
01-26-2008, 05:35 PM
Who cares about the aesthetics!

Dives me crazy the :mad::rolleyes: The system works because of the elegant Design. Ecconomicaly it should be subsidized by 1st world nations and it should be made to WORK AS DESIGNED. :rolleyes: Not hob cobbled together poorly functioning facimily of the original design.

It bugs the hell out of me that people allways ASSUME that because the design is elegent and a functional solution that an UGLIER version would be better :rolleyes:. No it would work less efficiantly and it would be .......... UGLY.

Keep the design work on designing a viable ecconomic insentive to get them produced, leave the aesthectics alone.

Ian McColgin
01-26-2008, 05:39 PM

01-26-2008, 05:42 PM
Another Stupid Whitebread Feelgood project like the 100 dollar laptop.

I am sure with all the money spent someone took the time to see what was really needed. Like maybe solar panels, batteries, wind powered or self powered pumps and rolls of poly pipe.
How long is that bastadazation gonna last when its being used to haul more than water? Can they reproduce parts without complex injection molding machines? It will break and when no more parts are available and cannot be reproduced locally how good ya gonna feel?
I am so sick of the morally superior deciding what others need and patting themselves on the back for it.

Duncan Gibbs
01-26-2008, 05:43 PM
Joe, If the design aesthetic can be carried along cheaply and easily to do the job at hand, I'm ALL for it. It is a very nice unit. However, if the main aim of the venture is to provide clean pottable water to people who have difficulty accessing it, and the 1st World nations do not subsidise it, and it's left to NGOs such as aid organisations, as a professional designer, who experiences such trial and tribulations during the design process, let me say that aesthetics will be the first thing that gets pitched out the window, unfortunate though that is.

Thus my suggestion that our combined militaries should fund such a project.

01-26-2008, 07:42 PM
What a nice idea. Very positive.

Mark, you see the potential problems of this thing and those problems are valid. They can actually happen.

You have a good mind and I'd really appreciate it if you would find solutions to the problems you pointed out. :)

Ian McColgin
01-26-2008, 07:49 PM
I don't know why but the areas of Africa I used to visit 30 years ago that had water problems tended not to have much in the way of bicycles. If this is still true, then a purpose built trike is perhaps a great idea assuming flattish, at least not steep mountainous, terrain.

I'd think that add-on baskets to carry other goods might be well.

It's most regrettable that as the global water crisis deepens, there's more and more move towards privatization of the water supplies. We're gonna pay for that.

Steve Paskey
01-26-2008, 10:55 PM
I love the spirit of the competition and the idea behind this design! But: I'm not convinced that it "works."

The problem is that the designers considered two related needs out of context -- the need to transport and purify water -- and came up with a solution to meet only those needs without considering the bigger picture. For instance, one could design a trike that would carry all sorts of things (not just water); and couple that with a stationary pedal unit that could power all sorts of things (not just a pump). That would be more expensive, but it's potentially way more useful.

I'm not saying that this is a better solution -- the only way to know what will really "work" is to talk to the people who will use it, live with them for a while, and learn more about their lives. I don't think that happened here.

01-26-2008, 11:04 PM
credit where credit is due, TD nailed this one.

As an irrigation consultant I've worked and talked with organizations that need help distributing a healthy potable water supply in less developed countries. If you need your water filtered and hauled the majority of the time the roads are impassable by a bike portions of the year (cambodia) and maintenance is hard to come by, let alone filters.

Not against the idea of innovation but the sappy script was written by someone who never had their boots on the ground.

A more energy efficient pump using wind or solar than can be operated manually if need be, and that is damn near bullet proof, would help a lot more people.

01-26-2008, 11:53 PM
I did not comment on this, using the Thumper's mother principle. I agree it's an awful solution. Even if the filter was RO, bacteria can still get through. A tricycle demands level pavement.

There are lots of clever people working on making water accessible, this group has missed the mark.

01-27-2008, 02:00 AM
So, if someone lives in a place with inadequate transport infrastructure and limited or no access to clean water ......the answer to their prayers is a blue tricycle?

If the design team had created a bicycle P.T.O. that could drive a water pump or purifier that would be impressive........

01-27-2008, 08:49 AM
The trick to improving these peoples lives is to help them obtain the most basic tools but also instead of sending college educated eggheads send practical tradesmen to teach practical skills.
Forge technology, simple machine tool tech, Basic surveying and things like that. Think skills of the early America and your on the right course. Geology, chemistry and the basic sciences will do more for people in the long term than have a bunch of smart assed college twits try to come up with the best bright new idea.
The old ideas do work but thats just not interesting enough. Cannot take credit for old ideas so now we really see what this game is about.

JFK's big mistake was the peace corps were for college aged idiots who think their time in the field make them Ghandi.
Send old experienced tradesmen so maybe we can really help.
Teach them to cast their own parts, wind their own motors, build their own kilns to cast clay pipe and they will figure the rest out themselves.

Joe (SoCal)
01-27-2008, 08:56 AM
I think the bike tool is one of MANY ways of tackling a large problem. I would imagine in many communities where, as in the video, woman walk a level road carrying heavy jugs of unfiltered water this particular device would be greatly appreciated.

01-27-2008, 09:05 AM
I think the bike tool is one of MANY ways of tackling a large problem. I would imagine in many communities where, as in the video, woman walk a level road carrying heavy jugs of unfiltered water this particular device would be greatly appreciated.

Well buy a hundred and ship them out, Better yet carry your pampered arse down to one of these places for a few months and see how really unprepared you are.
I ran into your type in central in south America. 9 times out of 10 you did more damage than good. I know this because I have flown your type in and out of those places and I have seen it all before.
What pisses me off more than anything is the bragging that goes on afterward like this thread and the video.

Duncan Gibbs
01-27-2008, 09:09 AM
You two should get a room! :D :D :rolleyes:

Steve Paskey
02-04-2008, 05:26 PM
Now here's a far more useful idea: free plans for a bike trailer that can be made from just about anything, including BAMBOO.

www.carryfreedom.com/bamboo.html (http://www.carryfreedom.com/bamboo.html)

And note the links to other free bike trailer projects at the bottom of the page.

In most ways, this is a MUCH better tool than the "aquacycle" ... everything needed to build one can be scavenged from other stuff; it can be built and repaired by just about anyone; it can be used with any bike; and it can carry loads other than water.

Yes, you'd still need a "container" for the water, and you'd still need a purification system ... but why integrate those with the bike and trailer? It makes no sense at all ... unless you're in the business of manufacturing the bike and trailer in the first place, or you're more concerned with being clever than being useful.

Keith Wilson
02-04-2008, 05:54 PM
Dives me crazy. :mad::rolleyes: The system works because of the elegant Design. Economically it should be subsidized by 1st world nations and it should be made to WORK AS DESIGNED. :rolleyes: Not hob cobbled together poorly functioning facsimile of the original design.Speaks an industrial designer. :rolleyes: Steve, I agree with you completely. I have some experience with bicycles, much more designing machines, and a couple of years trying to make things work under third-world conditions. The blue trike is a very clever idea, but not for where they need it. First, it's a single-purpose tool, which is a bad idea where some people already have bicycles and not much money. Bolt-on attachments to a standard bicycle would be far more versatile and almost certainly cheaper. Second, the swoopy design, the blue monocoque plastic or fiberglass shell, is expensive to tool up, hard to make, harder to repair, and probably not very rigid or strong in operation. It covers up the mechanism of the pump and clutch, and God help you if it cracks. People already have containers. People already have bicycles, and also dead ones from which they can scrounge wheels and parts. The wooden trailer with a couple of plastic jugs to carry the water, and a bicycle-driven pump to filter it once you get to your destination would be far more practical IMHO, although it wouldn't look so spiffy. In this case the aesthetics appear to get in the way of function.

02-04-2008, 07:21 PM
There's a dozen different ways to do reverse osmosis with "self cleaning" filters....a couple three two by fours, make a see saw, small ratched gear to a small pump, dangle one end over a tidal pool with a rigid arm and a 5 gallon bucket with one gallon of water in it...as the waves slosh up and down the pump operates and you can get up to 200-300 gallons per day depending on the size of the pump and diaphragm....
Same system.....uses a similar rig and a little wind power...

Same system, can use animal power to turn the geared pump...or human power.....I thought of but never tried a sterling engine in the sunlight....all the parts can be made from stuff at the local home despot....we built reverse osmosis systems in Thailand for outlying villages...shipped same to Vietnam....they use them in the small islands offshore....

02-04-2008, 07:47 PM
The trick to improving these peoples lives is to help them obtain the most basic tools but also instead of sending college educated eggheads send practical tradesmen to teach practical skills.
What an arrogant A$$.:mad:

As for the water bike, I agree with Keith on this. It looks pretty but the design is not practical for most of places it would be needed.

J. Dillon
02-04-2008, 07:54 PM
There are probably many solutions to this problem and maybe this is one of them . It seems to me each water shortage area might need a different approach . In the very least it might get people to thinks of other ways to haul water besides lugging it.;)


Milo Christensen
02-04-2008, 08:13 PM
What do the designers say this would sell for if built and distributed within the third world?

A basic bicycle can easily carry two 10 gallon jerry cans of water slung over the seat with a strap. Ride the bicycle to the water. Push the bicycle home, once home use a gravity feed filter. Cheap and the individual components of the system are easily replaceable. The third world doesn't need elegant design they can't afford, they need water they can drink safely.