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The most water-efficient shower ever?
Jeremy Faludi, 19 Jun 06

Boeing may have just invented the most water-efficient shower ever made. Designed for showering on-board an airplane, it forces water through small holes to make a high-pressure ultra-fine mist; but that's not all--it also has optical sensors to measure your height and the shape of your body, and only shoots mist out where needed to get you wet without wetting empty air. (Wild, no? Let's hope those sensors are simple diodes rather than cameras, otherwise people might get upset at having themselves filmed naked on an airplane.) I haven't been able to find actual liters-per-minute numbers of how little water the shower uses, much less how expensive it is, but NewScientist Invention Blog has a link to the patent.

It does not recycle its water, and in fact the first part of its two-part cycle uses pre-prepared shampoo-filled water; the second part uses pure water. (Though, to their credit, this is a clever design because it reduces the time necessary to shower.) So it probably won't hold the title for the most water-efficient shower, but I'd certainly give it the title for the geekiest water-saver.

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it forces water through small holes to make a high-pressure ultra-fine mist <-- didn't Buckminster Fuller invent that 60,70 years ago already?

Posted by: Bjorn van der Meer on 20 Jun 06

Why does this always happen with commenting systems.

it forces water through small holes to make a high-pressure ultra-fine mist: Didn't Buckminster Fuller invent this already?

Posted by: Bjorn van der Meer on 20 Jun 06

How does it compare with my 0.5 gallon per minute head?, which I rarely use because it requires at least 30 psi water pressure.

Posted by: Ben on 20 Jun 06

Reminds me of a Bucky Fuller invention:

He had this idea after spending time at sea and noticed that the worst of engine oils could be wiped clean after spending time on deck (and getting sprayed down on a windy day.)

Posted by: Andrew Barker on 20 Jun 06

Bucky was a genius. It's a real shame that there aren't more good presentations of his work for a general audience - and more products!

How's about an open-source Bucky-inspired design science effort? The patents are all expired, right, so it should be possible to do something with them...

Posted by: Vinay Gupta on 20 Jun 06

Hate to ask the obvious question, but why do people need to shower on airplanes and isn't it kind of inefficient to be flying around extra water?

Posted by: Joseph Willemssen on 20 Jun 06

Thank you Joseph! Potentially promising product, but a stupid application. And do we want to give our money to Boeing? Let the copycat products begin! And when Joe and Susy Somebody invent one that doesn't sound lame, we can all buy it from them.

Posted by: Chris Burt on 20 Jun 06

This would be great for trains and buses too! And although Joseph W. has a point, perhaps in the future we'll have energy-efficient but slow airships.

Any chance this could be used in other settings? Is Boeing going to commercialise this and the technology?

Posted by: Daniel Haran on 20 Jun 06

Interesting side note is that this water saving technique likely increases the chance that you will breath in the water vapour. In parts of the world where water is chlorinated this wouldn't be a good thing.

Posted by: Dale on 21 Jun 06

Heck I dont know if this invention even saw the light of day. But it sure sounds handy. I have 3 boys who shower (when they ever do) spend almost an hour each scrubbing themselves.

Posted by: reden on 22 Jun 06

The inhaled chlorine problem could be solved by a filter. I have one that attaches to my showerhead, because chlorine is supposedly absorbed more through the skin during a shower than by drinking water, which might be even more the case with this design. The filter works great-- I can feel the difference.

Btw, Bucky's shower idea was part of his orginal circular Dymaxion house, but while it worked well, it reportedly wasn't as pleasurable as a regular shower. I imagine that's why the idea didn't take off. Nice to see that it finally has, so to speak...

Posted by: Jeff Rusch on 23 Jun 06

What's the term for having yourself filmed naked on an airplane? The mile-spy club?

Posted by: Jacob on 27 Jun 06



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