After washing around 30 loads of children’s clothes at an orphanage in Burundi (Central Africa) in 2010, I  was inspired to design a product which would prevent people from having to wash clothes by hand in developing countries.

I had a self directed project as part of my Product Design degree at Sheffield Hallam, and decided to design a cycle powered washing machine, which I called the SpinCycle. This was designed to be run as a micro enterprise in the developing world.

The SpinCycle product was initially designed as a tricycle with a clothes washing arrangement on the back. This incorporated a rota moulded wash drum and jerry cans, belt driven perforated inner drums and a soap grater for use with blocks of detergent, often used in Africa.

During my university degree show the SpinCycle received international press attention, with the story being covered in papers throughout the world, as well as BBC radio and TV. I was then invited to pitch the product to a Sheffield based design consultancy which runs the Incub scheme for young entrepreneurs.

After a successful pitch and completing a 3 week placement the product was dramatically redesigned, making it simpler, more cost effective and above all more appropriate for the developing world.

I then spent a further 5 months with the Incub scheme and gained support from two Sheffield based businesses, Gripple who sponsor Incub and Goodman Sparks, a supplier of commercial laundry systems. These were able to give advice and insight into how the SpinCycle could work more efficiently.

The design was then refined and a prototype worthy of use in Burundi was built.

In June 2012 I flew back to Burundi, where the story began. Whilst there I tested the SpinCycle in the environment it was designed for. I also demonstrated the product at various projects around the country.

Whilst in Burundi I met a young man who was employed in a small village to wash clothes. He is now the first SpinCyclist, and is fully equipped to run a cycle powered laundry service in Ngozi.

The SpinCycle is now being replicated by several projects throughout Burundi.

2 Responses to “Story”

  1. 1 Christy October 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    This is a brilliant invention! We have an orphanage in Kenya and would be interested in talking with you. Do you have an email address we can contact you on?

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