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A system to reduce water waste during daily hygiene activities

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000240198D
Publication Date: 2015-Jan-12
Document File: 4 page(s) / 607K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

An innovative water system for houses, a "smart tap", that is able to react to enviromental conditions and user behaviour to increase the water usage efficiency and reduce water waste.

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Page 01 of 4

A system to reduce water waste during daily hygiene activities

    Even though water is considered a renewable resource, only one percent of the water found on Earth is available for human consumption. The remaining percentage is either salty or frozen, so not immediately available without heavy energy consumption. The opportunity to conserve water whenever possible is thus not only a financial consideration, but an environmentally conscious behaviour as well. One possible and immediate way to save water consumption, and reduce the associated costs, could be obtained by changing our daily behaviours and upgrading the water systems in our houses. As an example of a small change that can provide a huge difference: turning off the water while brushing teeth or shaving can save more than 30 liters each day!

    Among existing water devices there are taps that, leveraging optical proximity sensors, can automatically turn the water off when nobody is using it. Apart this important advantage such devices still have some drawbacks: while they are turned on they are not able to recognize which kind of object is nearby, hence the type of human activity that is being performed. Furthermore such sensors are not very accurate, and often require several attempts before being activated.

    The proposed solution is an innovative water system that implements a "smart tap" that, beyond traditional proximity sensors, is able to sense the environment and to interpret the surrounding objects and events. The collected information are then used, by a control component, to apply adaptive actions to regulate the water flow, providing the best compromise between comfort and environmental sustainability.

    The 'Smart Tap' has the following components that extend the normal water systems available in houses: micro-controller, motor driven valve, temperature/pressure/RFID sensors. Additionally, devices like toothbrush and razor designed to work with the system are equipped with an RFID TAG.

    The operational phases are an 'Usage phase' in which the system applies a control logic and actions to optimize water usage and an optional 'Enrollment phase' allowing to refine and con...