Does anyone else out there brush their teeth in the shower? Probably so. For some reason only swishing water around in the mouth seems a lot more appetizing than drinking water straight from the tap. At least, where I live, where the tap water can sometimes be on par with sewage sifted through a T-shirt. What if there were a way to make your shower water drinkable? The OrbSys Shower, created by Swedish industrial designer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, can do just that, although the focus is more on water conservation and treasuring this planet’s resources. But still, if you’re thirsty…
Through the company Orbital Systems, Mahdjoubi has introduced a revolutionary way to cleanse one’s self. The shower’s closed-loop system allows for the water that goes through the drain to pass through a series of filters, instantly turning back into purified water and pumped through the shower head. Since it would only momentarily be out of use, the water retains most of its heat, only needing a slight temperature boost. But that’s no reason to get rid of your flamethrowers.
Ideally, each OrbSys shower will save more than 90% just in water usage and 80% in energy, as compared to a standard one. “With my shower, which is constantly recycling water, you’d only use about five liters of water for a 10-minute shower,” Mahdjoubi told CNN. “In a regular shower you would use 150 liters of water — 30 times as much. It’s a lot of savings.” According to their statistics, it would save the average person around $1,351 on energy bills annually. Think of all the money you could spend on loofahs!
Mahdjoubi was inspired to create this unique system while at Sweden’s University of Lund, as part of a collaborative project with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in part searching for designs to make space expeditions easier. “In an extreme environment such as a space mission to Mars, design concepts are brought forward to use all of the possible resources to make it there and back,” Mahdjoubi said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t be as efficient on Earth as we can be in space.”
Astronaut Chris Hadfield explained the way water conversation works on the ISS, so perhaps toilets that provide drinking water are on the cusp of reality, just waiting to dribble out. While you consider that wonderful notion, check out the CNN video and interview below to see the OrbSys and its digital display in action.
For a test run, the showers were put into a Swedish coastal bathing house called Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, where over a thousand patrons come during the summer months to swim in the seaweed- and algae-laden waters, which means the showers had better be able to handle quite a bit of sediment for the 10 hours a day the bathhouse stays open. Mahdjoubi said, so far, “the feedback has been good.”
Now let’s just figure out a way to make the best of two worlds by making them solar-powered before sending them off into underdeveloped countries, where fresh water is more of a rarity.