This week’s innovation pick is a shower head that reminds you you’re taking too long. The Uji shower head gradually turns from green to red as users linger in the shower.
“It encourages [people] to take shorter and more energy efficient showers,” said one of the co-inventors, Brett Andler. “By letting people become aware of how long they’re in the shower, we’ve actually been able to cut shower time by 12 percent.”
Priced at about $50, that means the Uji pays for itself in water and energy savings in less than a year.
Andler says he and fellow Tufts University grads Sam Woolf and Tyler Wilson designed this light-up shower head as part of a mechanical engineering class in the spring.
“We were all interested in green technology and saving the environment,” Andler said. “So we were looking at an untackled problem and realized, shower heads. We wanted a product that will pay for itself really quickly and look and feel just as good as a non-eco-friendly counterpart.”
Andler submitted the Uji on our open form for Weekly Innovation ideas and it caught our eye. The idea also got the attention of the Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, whose grants helped pay for prototyping and testing the Uji shower. The former classmates are now seeking angel funding — and talking with big players in this space, like Siemens — as they move into production.
According to Andler, at least four universities have committed to piloting the shower heads in their dorms once the Uji is produced.
“It’s a great use case to sell directly to universities and use that as a way to build up revenue and trust,” Anders said. But if you want an Uji shower head for your home, the team is hoping to have them available for purchase by early 2014.
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