Long showers are a great way to unwind, but they pose a drain on resources. To help people cut down on their time in the shower, three Tufts University graduates created a color-changing shower head that alerts people when it's time to hop out.
The Uji shower head, which features a light that changes from green to red after seven minutes of use, began as a senior capstone project for Brett Andler, Sam Woolf, and Tyler Wilson. The three friends who graduated earlier in the spring said they wanted to work on a product that would improve on a user experience while helping people save money and resources.
"By reducing average shower time from nine minutes down to eight, the Uji shower head will pay for itself in water and energy savings after only seven months of use in a home setting, and three months in a university setting, where more individual users take showers on any given day," Andler told Fast Company. In its testing, the trio noticed Uji led to a 12% decrease in shower time.
After being featured by NPR's All Things Considered as its weekly innovation pick, Uji has attracted the attention of universities and home owners. Some colleges have also agreed to run a pilot program using the shower head in their dormitories.
Uji, which has received grants from the Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for prototype development and testing, is seeking angel funding as it moves into production. The creators are still experimenting with the design of Uji and hope it will be available early next year.
"We're still not done fiddling," Andler said. "We're also exploring letting people set their own times and a few other cool ideas."
Every year, Fast Company names its 100 Most Creative People, highlighting the global leaders in tech, design, media, music, movies, marketing, television, sports, and more. Andler, Woolf, Wilson, and other thought leaders, will be considered for 2014's list.