Foot-powered Washing Machine

GiraDora

Design students Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You visited Cerro Verde, a slum outside of Lima, Peru, as part of a challenge from the Design Matters program at Art Center College of Design, which focuses on social innovation.

When they first arrived in the slum, the pair were shocked at the amount of time Cerro Verde’s inhabitants spent collecting the water needed to perform the most basic tasks. “So much time, energy, and resources are used for basic water chores like cooking and cleaning,” remembers Cabunoc. "It leaves little time for other activities that might help one get out of poverty.” In particular, washing clothes is a major timesuck--it can eat up as much as six hours a day. There are major physical challenges involved with doing a simple load of laundry, too: lugging heavy buckets of water from a clean site, for example, or finding a way to dry the clothes before they get moldy.

One of the many ideas that came out of the trip is GiraDora, the foot-powered washing machine.

GiraDora is a blue bucket that conceals a spinning mechanism that washes clothes and then partially dries them. It’s operated by a foot pedal, while the user sits on the lid to stabilize the rapidly churning contents. Sitting alleviates lower-back pain associated with hand-washing clothes, and frees up the washer to pursue other tasks. It’s portable, so it can be placed nearby a water source, or even inside on a rainy day. It reduces health risks like joint problems, skin irritation, and mold inhalation. Most importantly, it uses far less water and cleans clothes faster than conventional hand-washing.

The students have received a small grant to develop their design through a pilot program. Link -via Dark Roasted Blend


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