You not-so-subtly bang down your bathroom door, hoping your roommate will get the hint. A “quick shower” has turned into a 30-minute “American Idol” audition that only grows more and more agonizing with each underwater hymn. This, you realize, is why you should have bought the Uji shower head.
Developed by recent Tufts University graduates Brett Andler, Sam Woolf and Tyler Wilson, the Uji gradually changes from green to red as users dilly-dally in the shower.
“It encourages [individuals] to take shorter and more energy efficient showers,” said Andler in an interview with NPR. “By letting people become aware of how long they’re in the shower, we’ve actually been able to cut shower time by 12 percent.”
Although not available for purchase yet, the trio claims the price will hover around $50 per shower head—a cost as efficient as the technology. The Uji will pay for itself in energy and water savings after a mere seven months of use, allowing users to pocket an extra $85 per year if installed.
The team is still tinkering with the model. Currently, the shower head turns red in roughly seven minutes, but Andler told NPR they may give users the ability to set their own time, or modify the current seven minutes. If all goes according to plan, you could be seeing what they decided on in early 2014.
Uji won a $2,500 third-place prize in the social entrepreneurship track of the 2013 Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition. First created as part of a mechanical engineering class this spring, the shower head has already caught the attention of the Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “whose grants helped pay for the prototyping and testing of the Uji shower,” according to NPR.
Andler said at least four universities have agreed to piloting the shower heads in their dorms once the Uji is produced, leading the trio to now seek angel funding.
For a demo of the shower head, check out the video below.