Two American business firms collaborate to create a new smart home system that monitors a home’s water usage and sends the data to a user’s smartphone.
It’s believed by many that in the future, when human population has swelled to unprecedented levels, water will be so scarce that fighting over it will be the cause of most wars. Wouldn’t it be better if we just wasted less? It’s a sentiment surely shared by design company Matter and engineering operation Mindtribe, two Californian firms that have come up with Well – a smart home initiative that uses sensors to monitor water usage.
The firms realised early on that – unlike with power use – very few people have any idea how much water they use. The core of the design is a network of sensors attached to each water outlet, like kitchen and bathroom sinks, toilet, washing machine and the biggest user of all – the shower. Each component is self-powered and doesn’t require professional installation, and when each sensor is connected via WiFi, the information is then sent to the customer’s smartphone so they have an accurate tally of all their water usage.
Users start by entering household information into the app, like number of residents, location of property, and the app works out how much the household should be using per day. This is then illustrated using a digital tank of water, which depletes as water is used revealing a desert behind the water. The hope is that water usage will no longer feel so abstract and users will start to conserve more. The app also creates daily, weekly, monthly and yearly usage charts. The system should help each household save around 12 percent of water, which might not change the world overnight but would be a step in the right direction. It’s currently at prototype stage, and the companies plan to raise production capital through investment and crowdfunding.
Other water saving initiatives we’ve seen are Innocent Drink’s Irri-Fresca app that helps Spanish strawberry farmers save water, and the American Swiim System that was designed to help farmers share surplus water. What other inventions could help us hoard more H2O?