FEEL GOOD | UCT student wins global challenge with his foot-pedal washing machine design

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UCT student Kai Goodall has won a global design challenge, with a design for a foot-cranked washing machine.
UCT student Kai Goodall has won a global design challenge, with a design for a foot-cranked washing machine.
  • A UCT student has won an international competition with a design for a unique washing machine.
  • The competition aimed to find designs to reduce the burden of handwashing in low-income areas.
  • Kai Goodall is now planning to produce prototypes for testing in Cape Town townships.

A University of Cape Town student has won a global design challenge with his unique invention that's aimed at reducing "the burden of handwashing" clothing for lower-income communities.

Kai Goodall won with his Pedal n Spin concept at the Electrocomponents People.Planet.Product student design challenge.

The challenge partnered with The Washing Machine Project, a humanitarian initiative dedicated to alleviating the burden of handwashing in low-income and displaced communities, through innovative product design and distribution.

Goodall was one of six global finalists, who was challenged with developing the Washing Machine Project's first water-saving, off-grid, manual crank-handle washing machine, The Divya.

READ | After rejections, Cape Town woman celebrates as books hit shelves

All six finalists pitched their designs at a live virtual event to a panel of judges from leading industry and humanitarian organisations. Goodall was the only finalist from the continent.

He submitted a design for a foot-cranked washing machine that rotates easily, using a combination of the principle of a treadle system and pedal system. Goodall is a master's student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cape Town.

He said it was "moving" to see that his sustainable and user-friendly washing machine design was selected as one of the winners of the global contest.

"My UCT supervisor and chairman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) South Africa, Dr David Oyedokun, inspired me to compete in the RS Components Student Design Challenge and I came out tops with my Pedal n Spin foot-cranked washing machine innovation. Being the sole finalist from Africa in the competition and winning first prize was a special recognition of my invention and motivates me to take my passion to new frontiers, and hopefully inspire more young people to use engineering as a tool for their progression," he said.

The top three submissions received £1 000 in products or a cash equivalent to support their prototype development, plus access to a business mentor and a knowledge session with The Washing Machine Project founder, Navjot Sawhney.

Kai recently joined forces with Forest Creations, a sustainable woodworking company, to create four more improved Pedal n Spin units for donation and field testing in Cape Town townships, with a view toward more sustained manufacturing and distribution.

He said:

I welcome collaboration and financial support in my bid to roll out many more of these units, to provide a healthy and sustainable innovation to those in need.

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