An engineering team from Mashery may have a good solution to California’s drought problem – just shower with friends. The team of five presented Shower with Friends at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon today, an Intel technology similar to Arduino that lets you compare your water use against that of your friends.
The idea for Shower with Friends actually came from a kegbot in the Mashery office. As you might guess, the kegbot actually detects how much beer each person is drinking to compare who drinks the most. The story goes that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich dropped by the office one day, saw the kegbot and asked the engineers if they could apply the same idea to something he would actually use in his house. Thus, the seed for Shower with Friends was born.
Shower with Friends is different from your regular old Home Depot low-flow shower head. It will sense your total use of water and then send you an SMS notification to let you know if you are using more or less water than the previous day. It can also show you how much water your friends (or roommates, or sister) are using to compare your consumption to theirs.
This could be an important device in a drought-heavy state like California. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor Report, most of the state is currently in an an extremely exceptional drought. Over 58 percent of the state is in this state, with 82 percent of the state listed in the extreme drought category. The National Drought Mitigation Center calls this “a once in a generation type of event.” According to a UC Davis study released in July, California agriculture faces the greatest drought ever seen.
According to creators of Shower with Friends, Neil Mansilla, Bob Pielock, Tarandeep Bali, George Perry and Vivek Chopra, the product can also be applied to other household water usage such as toilets, your dishwasher or even for watering your lawn. Krzanich mentioned he would surely adopt this device in his home, should the group build it at our hackathon.
Though I personally love the name Shower with Friends, the group agreed the name would have to change should they plan to commercialize it. Trickle Down was mentioned as a possible replacement in the future.