Aquaduct by IDEO

Design Indaba 08: IDEO cofounder Bill Moggridge presented this concept tricycle that purifies water as the rider pedals, at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town last month.

Called Aquaduct, it was developed to help people in the developing world who have to make long journeys to collect water, which is often unsafe to drink.

The tricycle has a large water tank mounted over the rear axles. Pedalling draws water through a filter to a second, removable, tank mounted in front of the handlebars.

Aquaduct was developed for the Innovate or Die competition organised by bicycle manufacturers Specialized, and won first prize. Watch a video about the trike here.

The designers who worked on the project were Adam Mack, John Lai, Eleanor Morgan, Paul Silberschatz and Brian Mason. Photographs here are by Nicolas Zurcher.

The following information is from Ideo:


The Aquaduct is a pedal powered concept vehicle that transports, filters, and stores water for the developing world. The functional model was designed and constructed over a three week period for the Innovate or Die contest hosted by Google and Specialized.

The vehicle seeks to address the two main challenges with water in the developing world: sanitation and transportation. Water-related diseases kill thousands of people each day. Moreover, water sources can be miles away from the home, and women must walk these distances carrying heavy water vessels. The Aquaduct is designed to allow a person to sanitize and transport water simultaneously.

As the rider pedals, a pump attached to the pedal crank draws water from a large tank, through a carbon filter, to a smaller clean tank. A clutch engages and disengages the drive belt from the pedal crank, enabling the rider to filter the water while traveling or while stationary. The clean tank is removable and closed for contamination-free home storage and use.

The entry placed first in the contest and the $5000 prize money will be donated to Kickstart, a company focused on water solutions for the developing world. Two of the sponsors of the contest, Specialized and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, matched the donation to total a $15,000 impact.