What's Next?

 

We're just getting started.

We live in a world where millions of people are impacted by solvable problems. In many communities, inadequate technologies limit access to basic needs and opportunities. We seek to fill the gap by developing appropriate technologies for the 90% of the world that has been left behind.

We aspire to the be go-to provider of innovative solutions for global partners combating poverty. The demand for humanitarian engineering solutions is growing, and we have quite a few things up our sleeve. One thing is for certain, the LifePump is just the beginning.

Image
LifeTap
A reliable self-closing valve
Another way to provide water to a community, besides a hand pump, is to pump water to a tank or capture water from a spring and distribute the water to communities via water tap stands. A weak link in these systems is the valve used to dispense water. When these valves leak or break, water is wasted, tanks are emptied, and fresh water comes into contact with contaminated hands. According to the World Bank, 45 million cubic meters of water are lost daily due to water leakage in these systems. That's enough water to meet the basic water needs of 640 million people.

The LifeTap solves these issues by providing a reliable self-closing valve that is robust enough to handle the wear and tear of a community tap stand. LifeTap provides a seal to stop water when closed, and it has an anti-microbial surface that helps counteract contamination.

LifeTap is being field-tested in Haiti and Kenya, with the first LifeTaps being deployed in May of 2018. We will be conducting a final technical review in 2019 in preparation for wider distribution.

Image
LifePumpLink
A satellite-based remote monitoring system
Access to data can open up a world of possibilities. LifePumpLink is a satellite-based remote monitoring system that allows us to measure and analyze the performance of LifePump, no matter the location. The ability to access data will enable us to make continuous improvements to LifePump and develop more efficient maintenance programs for our partners.

LifePumpLink is attached to the topside of the pump near the gearbox. It has a sensor that keeps track of how other the pump is being used and at what time of day. The data is stores in a small computer and linked to a satellite modem, which sends a daily transmission with the data. We are able to download the data and check LifePump performance on a daily basis.

LifePumpLink is being field-tested in Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, and the Central African Republic. The DO engineering teams are preparing the LifePumpLink for scale, and we are also in development of the data management systems that will provide the preventative and predictive maintenance for our partners.

Image
autoLifePump
A motorized LifePump upgrade
In some communities where LifePumps are installed, people learn that safe and reliable water is near and flock to LifePump locations. As a result, populations grow quickly and lines become long. There is a need to provide a higher flow rate of water to meet the needs of the growing population, which can often be achieved by installing an electric pump. However, these solutions are expensive and face issues related to unreliable energy sources.

autoLifePump is a motorized upgrade to the LifePump that increases flow rate by 3-4x, and is equipped with a manual back-up in case of power outages. A standard LifePump can be upgraded with a motor and control system, where the user pushes a button and the autoLifePump fills their container.

Prototype testing of autoLifePump is being conducted at the Design Outreach shop facility in Sunbury, Ohio as well as partner organization SonSet Solutions in Elkhart, Indiana. Next steps include further testing in the United Sates, and then likely Malawi and/or Haiti where field-testing can be done under close supervision.