Too good to be real

$2!

I think it’s priceless.

…a good thing, totally…$2,000,000K plus shipping and handling

Unfortunately $2.00 US is some people’s weekly income.

I read an article in the Guardian two years back about a guy in Africa selling solar cells to power radios and such. I think the cells cost about $20, and batteries cost $5 a month. Guess what, the guy couldn’t sell the solar cells. Most people couldn’t even afford to buy the $5 in batteries.

I would also suspect that people will do in the developing world what we do in the west. Deny reality. If someone is 25 years old and can barely afford this life-straw, they may say, “hey, I got by 25 years without one, why start now”.

C’est la vie.

Great invention though! I tried to develop a solution for this problem for an old Core contest. Also, there is a swiss scientist I wrote to that developed a solution using 2L plastic coke bottles. If the water is placed in transparent bottles in the sun for a couple of days, the UV rays in the sunlight kill many of the diseases. He was working with the UN, I have no idea how far the idea got.

PS: a friend of mine also suggested some cultural considerations. He is more traveled than I am, so I trust him on this. He says that it is mostly North Americans that use straws to drink. Perhaps the life-straw designer should have considered a Brita caraf type of design to allow the user to determine how they want to drink (rather than expect people to hang off the side of boats?)

That $2 will last you at least a year, which is how long the filter lasts. Although people don’t earn much in under developed countries, I think $2 for a year of portable water supply is pretty affordable. Water is an important element in all lives, I can’t imagine $2 is too expensive.

I also see great potential of this design in markets here. Hikers, campers, rescue teams and the military will find this very useful. Perhaps we can charge $30 for them here and subsidize those in under developed countries?

This is totally awesome… Amazing !!

Beautiful…

Where can I buy some?

Haven’t seen a nice product like this 1 for a long time.

Oxo

that caught my eye when i first saw it. very cool. but you guys need better sources (and wasn’t this blogged twice on Core?). that was reported months ago over on WorldChanging.com. and if you like that one, i suggest you make regular visits.

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002763.html

I saw it already but this is indeed the best product in many many years.
I love it. It’s so simple. 2$ is nothing for us. the producer of these things should create a fund. I’ll donate 20$ immidiatly. 10 people -and more if they share- can drink clean water for a year long. This is really really cheap.
Again I LOVE IT…should have al the design prices of this year…
Its simple, a real solution to a real problem and no big fuzz around it like all those other 'design’sh*t

Maybe its based upon this Belgian campaign for clean water
http://www.mm.be/fr/cotm.php?id=237&page=1

I don’t like the interface and I don’t think it’s going to be very efficient for the user. Consider:

How much fluid is moving through this thing per minute? Ever watch a Brita filter drip? DRIP is the operative word. I think the user is going to be hunched over the stream for quite a long period of time before they get enough water to be satiated.

Also, I don’t know how you are going to explain to the user that a muddy, nasty-looking pond is going to be good to drink from through this straw. Where is the visual confirmation of trust in this device? I would rather see clear water in some sort of vessel, after going through a filter, then “trust this stick” that everything is going to be alright.

How about a folding bag made of the Nalgene anti-bacterial plastic (microfiber perhaps), and the same filter but in a screeen (like a portable Brita)? The filters could be replaced when they stop working, which could be illustrated by a color agent perhaps.

Even more simple: how about a Sterno fuel cell and a donated pot from Goodwill?


M

all good points. from developed world perspective. but let’s step out of our comfortable world for a sec.

  1. 3rd world citizens dying from lack of basic human needs have one priority: staying alive. DRIP isn’t the operative word. neither is “efficient”. DEATH is the operative word here. so long as they can get enough water to stay alive, that’s all that matters.

  2. muddy, nasty-looking pond? there are people in some countries who sell mud for food. as completely bizarre as this sounds, it’s true. they’re so hungry even mud in the stomach is better than nothing. i’d also like to see clear water in a vessel. but concepts of cleanliness are lost under some circumstances. see #1.

  3. how about. there’s dreaming and there’s doing. someone DID something. don’t tell us your ideas. got a better solution? do it.

Here’s the link to the company’s website:
http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/

From the distribution of their branches, it seems that they really focus on serving the third world. Maybe they need a design department?:slight_smile:

a natural brake on the flow of water has been put into the LifeStrawâ„¢, as a controlled flow between 100 ml to 150 ml per minute is needed to get the maximum benefit of the bacteria killing effect.

That’s pretty slow, but I guess that’s what it takes for current technology.

faster than i would expect. at least 1/10 of a liter in a minute. 10 minutes to suck down a liter. considering the circumstances that sounds pretty good. thanks for the link.

I’m still on the fence with this design. I think it was more engineered than designed with the user in mind.

To begin with, the people that are out there starving and buying mud, I seriously doubt can afford $2 US on a product like this. If there is water nearby, they’ve been drinking it their whole lives. I doubt they will feel that they need a filter. Or, buying a kilo of rice today will seem more urgent than getting sick next week.

I also recall an article in Innovation about human needs. It mentioned that the first thing many afghans did after the Taliban were removed from power was to go and buy jewlry, make-up, see movies. From our point of view, we might say, “but they had all of these health, sanitation, democratic and infrastructure problems that are soooo much more important!?!?!”.

People in any part of the world tend to live more “for the moment” than perhaps any of us would like to admit. Think of risky sexual behaviour and the spread of aids. Think of unsustainable economic and environmental policies.

Think also of a third world success story. The freeplay radio. It answered, essentially, no needs. It answered a desire to be more connected to the world.

What I am trying to argue is not to “blame the victim”, but rather “think of the user”. I would love to hear that these developers spent months on the ground learning about how people use water in the developing world before creating this product. However, I would not be surprised to learn that they spent nearly all of their time in a lab.

Good points ykh - but I maintain my position. I think it’s a noble effort, but I think it has alot of shortcomings in the human factors area.

  1. The promo shot shows the user leaning over into a pond sipping 100ml/minute through a high-tech straw. In two minutes he would have sucked 6.7 ounces of water. That is hardly anything! I don’t want to lean over like that for 2 seconds let alone 2 minutes. And the stress on your cheek muscles for 2 minutes, gasping? Frustrated, I bet he just puts his hands in the water like he always used to, before obtaining the Lifestraw.

I understand the user may be desperate, but I still think a purify-and-store method is more elegant considering the time it takes to purify using available technology.

My answer to 3) remains: I’d like to donate some old pots/pans and some sterno to water-starved countries instead of fund this product.

M

The first thing I thought of when seeing the photo of woman drinking over a muddy bank is the crocodiles waiting to take a bite.

I think the article is full of shit…just like the water! :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

So what? Anyone really care or do you want to sketch cars and computers and stuff that’s fun? This is boring.

what experience do you have that leads to this assumption?

To begin with, the people that are out there starving and buying mud, I seriously doubt can afford $2 US on a product like this.

did you bother to look over the website, 914? it’s not the people dying paying for these. it’s apparently being funded by NGO’s and donations.

If there is water nearby, they’ve been drinking it their whole lives. I doubt they will feel that they need a filter.

water quality isn’t static. and in Africa, neither are the people. again, i’m curious on what you base your doubts. don’t confuse drinking poor quality water with not understanding it’s causing problems. choosing the lesser evil does not make these people stupid. some most certainly know the water is bad, but humans can’t go long without water. of any quality.

I also recall an article in Innovation about human needs. It mentioned that the first thing many afghans did after the Taliban were removed from power was to go and buy jewlry, make-up, see movies. From our point of view, we might say, “but they had all of these health, sanitation, democratic and infrastructure problems that are soooo much more important!?!?!”.

apples and oranges. just bc Afghans were repressed doesn’t mean their lives were the same as those in Africa. lumping all 3rd people into the same condition makes no sense imo. go to some places like rural China and ask for the bathroom at a nice restaurant - then walk into an empty concrete room with feces and urine all over. Chinese buy all those luxuries too. no one is comparing them to refugees in Sudan.

People in any part of the world tend to live more “for the moment” than perhaps any of us would like to admit. Think of risky sexual behaviour and the spread of aids. Think of unsustainable economic and environmental policies.

exactly. and when basic needs are met, they’ll do what you suggest. but water is a basic need. look at reports from the Gulf Coast. water is high on the list of priorities down there.

Think also of a third world success story. The freeplay radio. It answered, essentially, no needs. It answered a desire to be more connected to the world.

i disagree. they’re not listening to Howard Stern or picking up AOR radio! hahaha. most broadcasts in 3rd world locations are information. often important information. it’s as much a need there as tornado sirens in the U.S.

What I am trying to argue is not to “blame the victim”, but rather “think of the user”. I would love to hear that these developers spent months on the ground learning about how people use water in the developing world before creating this product. However, I would not be surprised to learn that they spent nearly all of their time in a lab.

now here you really lose me. do urinal and toilet designers use outhouses for months to understand that need? or just squat on the side of a mainstreet store like i’ve witnessed in some places. as a lighting designer, how many months have you gone without electric lights at night… to fully understand the design problem.

this kind of comment is becoming cliche. lets not trivialize the real reason designers involve themselves: to understand a need. how many months would any of us live under those same conditions? most designers would be dead in weeks. understanding a problem <> time. some people never understand a problem. some get it immediately.