KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
18th September 2019
We strongly recommend viewing KBzine full size in your web browser. Click our masthead above to visit our website version.
Keep clients mindful of home water use with Smart, wall-mounted device
Oasys helps households save water by providing meaningful information on their daily consumption, displayed on a friendly touch-screen console mounted anywhere in the home.
Everyone knows there's a water crisis. But few know that it's bad enough for the World Economic Forum to rank it with the greatest impact of all worldwide issues. Ad campaigns and word-of-mouth have reduced usage a bit, but don't provide the constant feedback that guides real behavioural change.
That's what the creators of the Oasys hope to solve. Oasys displays infographics of a household's daily water use on a disc-shaped touchscreen mounted anywhere in the home. Oasys can tell people how much water they've used so far in a given week, compare it to last week, show standings next to similar households, and set goals and challenges tailored to recent use.
This means the environmentally-conscious have specific goals to shoot for, see the impact when they've changed their habits, and feel proud seeing how well they've done. So when a family only runs the dishwasher when it's full and limits showers to five minutes, Oasys's colourful display shows the difference they're making right before their eyes.
"It's like a Fitbit for water consumption," says Pep Viladomat, head of product development for Oasys. "You see you're improving, so you stick with it."
Pep's comparison is apt in more ways than one: Oasys gets its data from a wireless sensor that wraps around the water main of any house like a wristband. The console's wireless functionality also lets it connect to the Internet for more data like local weather forecasts and watershed levels, contextualizing the information and the need to act.
Oasys was designed to look sleek and simplistic to match virtually any household decor. LED lights surrounding its white outer disk displays a soft, ambient glow in any colour of the user's choice.
In place of beeps, the coloured ring lets Oasys use subtle changes in colour to notify users. This includes new information updates or in the event of a water leak, which causes Oasys to flash red when it detects an unusually long period of use. In case nobody's home to solve it, Oasys can forward the alert to any mobile phone.
"Water conservation is not a one-person cause," explains Daniel Martin, head of business strategy. "This is a global initiative that hinges on the creation of a worldwide community dedicated to bringing water scarcity into the forefront of people's minds. We know there's not going to be an Oasys in every living room. But by bringing together the people that care the most, by empowering them with the right tools, that's how we'll make a difference."
Oasys was born last year out of the Imagine Creativity Centre in Silicon Valley, where 12 inventors from around the world were invited to solve the world's problems. To three of them, it was apparent from the building in drought-stricken California that the global water shortage was one of the most important issues they could address. And so came to be the first Oasys prototype.
When the team presented its device to major European water utility company Agbar, the company's subsidiary Aqualogy invested seed money to bring in more talent and develop it as a real product. This seed money brought Oasys to where it is now: a working prototype with nearly all planned features intact. Now based in Barcelona, the core team is four-strong with Heywood & Sons and other specialists contributing in various capacities.
To finish development, the team launched a Kickstarter campaign on September 23rd with a goal of €50,000 (about $55,000). This money will be used to add additional features, put on the finishing touches and bring Oasys into production.
But the team hopes the campaign can bring more than just funds. According to Daniel, working with a crowdfunding platform lets the team build a community around the common goal of ending the water shortage-one necessary if it is ever to be achieved.
Oasys runs on an ARM Cortex-A9 processor and is designed to operate passively to minimise power use. It's 240mm in diameter and 36mm thick, with an 85mm diameter screen. No tools are required for installation.
Image: Alex, Daniel, Marc & Pep
25th September 2015