One flush or two?

Many toilets are designed with a dual-flush system. One flush lever meant to be used for liquid waste (which requires less water) and one flush lever meant to be used for solid waste (which requires more water).

Here are a few examples:

In these two designs (as well as most others I have seen) the smaller button is for liquid waste (less water) and the larger button is for solid waste (and more water).

So here is the design challenge:

Given that this device is meant to be energy / resource saving, by helping to conserve water, how can we resolve the following paradoxical situation?

We prefer that the user use the smaller button (expending less water) as often as possible, and only use the larger flush when necessary.  However, the larger button is easier to use, simply because it is bigger.

The current design allows the user to quickly intuit which button releases more water (bigger button = bigger flush), but it does not address the fact that people will tend to use the easier option (bigger button) more often, which is counter to the design intent.

How can we redesign the flush levers such that we still know intuitively which button releases which amount of water, while making it clear that the less water option is the preferred option if possible?

This last picture is actually a single-flush option, but I provided the picture to perhaps provide some design inspiration.

Shared Water

In India, water is much more of a shared public resource. Playing basketball on the public courts, if you bring a bottle of water, you should expect to be asked to share with anyone who wants a bit.

This is a public water source. In most places I’ve visited, a drinking fountain is the dispenser of choice. Here, a shared cup is the option.

I think that using a cup would tend to reduce the overall wasted water, since you’d tend to drink it in quantized amounts.  As opposed to the drinking fountain, where you have a constant flow, some of which one invariably fails to consume. However, the added number of parts required, dust and dirt, potential cross-contamination and other factors tend to make me favor the drinking fountain.

I do not know why the chains were made long enough for the cups to fall to the ground. Potentially to allow for the cups to be raised up enough to reach a taller person’s mouth.

A river runs near it

At my apartment in Bangalore there is a strange problem with the bathroom sink.

It is situated too far away from the faucet nozzle. When you turn the water on low, it actually flows directly onto the edge of the sink. 50% of the water ends up in the drain and 50% of the water ends up on the floor.

Even with the water at full flow, the stream barely makes it into the bowl, and as soon as you put your hands in the water, a good portion of it gets splashed out of the sink and onto the floor.

Well, the problem was pretty easy to solve actually. Want to see how? After the link.

Continue reading