Anything that can make life easier in the developing world is very much appreciated by its citizens so a washing machine that runs on pedal power could be just the thing to alleviate time consumed by hand washing.
So step forward, the SpinCycle, a bicycle-based washing machine. Developed by inventor Richard Hewitt, SpinCycle features a washing drum attached to a frame that fits onto the back of the bicycle. The bicycle can also carry water containers at the front of the bike.
How does it work
To use as a washing machine, the frame is folded out so the drum sits on the back wheel. The drum is then loaded with clothes, detergent and water. Once pedalling starts, the spinning back wheel rotates the washing drum to agitate the dirt out of the clothing. The water and the detergent in the drum is then drained out and rinse water is added to the unit before another peddling session completes the cycle. It can also be used to spin-dry the clothes once they are clean.
Unlike some more rather basic bicycle-based washing machine inventions, seen here, the SpinCycle has mobility allowing a greater number of people to use the product.
Saves time, energy and water
Richard, who has a degree in product design, came up with the idea after he visited an orphanage in Burundi, central Africa.
“One of the tasks I did at the orphanage was to wash around 30 loads of children’s clothes by hand. This was extremely time-consuming and I thought ‘There must be an easier way than this’, and it set off a train of thought that led me to this idea.
“They use bikes a lot there so I came up with the idea that it could become a micro-enterprise for people. As well as saving a lot of time, energy and water, people might also be able to make a little bit of money.”
Richard is keen to improve his SpinCycle product having now received a patent for his design and is looking for investment to build four SpinCycle devices with four different drum applications (filtering water, washing clothes, sorting grain and mixing mud for house construction). He also plans to travel back out to Africa to test the SpinCycle. Contact him here if you have an interest in the project.
To see more of the prototype SpinCycle at work, click here to see a video.
Photo used courtesy of Richard Hewitt