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A Gorgeous Water Filtration System For The Networked Age

Cove’s designers want to make it dead simple to filter water at home.

Drinking clean, filtered water at home shouldn’t be difficult, but too often it is. Some filtration systems are overly complicated. Others take up too much refrigerator space (looking at you Brita). And few products are beautiful enough to leave out on the counter.

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Cove, a new water purification system, attempts to improve the experience of filtering and drinking water, through clean, simple design and integrated technology that can alert you to everything from when you need to change your filters to when the water has reached its optimal temperature. It can even nudge you to drink more water.

Cove’s UK-based founders, Alex Totterman and Matt White, were inspired by past work on larger water-based projects like hydroponics and designing fisheries. The product’s aluminum base contains two glass water chambers. One is removable and contains tap water; the other is built into the device and contains purified water. A medical grade micro-pump pushes water through several filtration layers of minerals and laser-etched membranes to catch microscopic bacteria and harmful chemicals. The device cools itself, so it doesn’t take up precious fridge space, and it fits easily on a counter, with sleek industrial design that wouldn’t look out of place in a design showroom.

Cove claims to be the first water filter to take advantage of the networked technology that many home appliances are now integrating into their products. The device is wired to notify users via an app when they need to refill the tank, change the recyclable filter and when the water is at an optimal temperature. It’s also possible to set reminders for yourself in the app to drink more water, by calculating how much you should drink in a day and breaking it up into glasses. Syncing the device to your Nest can automatically conserve electricity by turning off the cooling function when no one is home.

Little design touches elevate the overall experience: Lights embedded between the water tanks pulse when water is being filtered, so you know the device is working, and the color can be changed to match the device’s surroundings. A touch-sensitive strip allows users to swipe to dispense water, and tap to stop. How quickly the water flows depends on how quickly you swipe. To remove and replace the filter, you simply slide out a piece of plastic on the back of the device. Fingers never come into contact with filters themselves, fulfilling Cove’s promise to function better than competitors, which have often been found to contaminate the water they are trying to purify.

Cove is available on pre-order today, and at $249, it’s not cheap. How many people will spend that much on something that filters already-drinkable water, no matter how convenient and attractive it seems? And then there’s the question of whether Cove will really be better than its competitors: Is it possible for a product to remove all impurities from drinking water, and is that even desirable?

Still, for those who want, but haven’t found, the perfect water filtration system, Cove has some noteworthy features. The company writes in a blog post that when designing products “it’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.” Though Cove may not have created a product that’s revolutionary, doing many things well may allow the filter to add up to more than the sum of its parts.

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About the author

I'm a writer living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Interests include social justice, cats, and the future.

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