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UCT Student Wins International Design Challenge

Dec 30, 2021

By Umamah Bakharia

A UCT student masters student is lifting the South African flag high in the international community. Kai Goodall, has designed a foot powered washing machine that has won him an international design challenge award.

Radio Islam spoke to Kai Goodall on he’s innovation and what this could be mean for future sustainable development in South Africa.

UCT Engineering Master’s Student, Kai Goodall

Goodall says as an engineer he realised the importance of engineering for people and social responsibility and that is what inspired him to develop this innovation.

“This washing machine innovation fitted comfortably into my interest, which is to help society through my engineering designs,” says Goodall.

Operating the washing machine from a seated position, using the power of stronger leg muscles, provides better ergonomics and options for user posture and efficiency. The power input is based on the well-proven treadle system, he said. Think of the old treadle sewing machines.

The innovation uses 25 liters of water and washes up to 5 kg

“The design started with rapid prototyping and robust engineering testing to achieve the most efficient and reliable final washing machine design,” said Goodall. “The manufacturing process of the final design was streamlined and developed with the hands-on support of Grant Bramwell, one of the directors of Forest Creations, a sustainable local woodwork workshop in Cape Town, South Africa.”

The materials used reflect Goodall’s focus on sustainability and recyclability; the washing machine is made from wood and steel components. It can be easily manufactured and repaired in basic workshops anywhere is the world, he said.

“It can be used around low income households to help improve their hygiene levels,” says Goodall. He adds that the project is user friendly as that was the main objective.

To validate his design, Goodall tested it by corralling people of various ages, sizes and physical strength. His 12-year-old brother, Oliver Bramwell, was roped in to test it, as well as his 85-year-old grandmother, Margaret du Toit, who pronounced, “It’s easier to use than you think.”

Goodall’s Pedal n Spin washing machine uses 25 litres of cold water and does 5 kg of washing at a time.

The user can easily remove the cage set-up on the side of the water-tight drum, remove it, fill it with water, soap and laundry.

“It’s not limited to low-income or displaced people,” he said. “In an age of climate change, people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.”

Goodall with his innovation, the ‘Pedal n Spin’

A born innovator, Goodall’s antennae for opportunity is driven by a “passion for technology”, but always with the needs of society in mind and for green solutions that use renewable energy and bio-degradable and recyclable materials to boost sustainability. He found his academic home in engineering at UCT.

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