Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ready, steady, go!

With our project starting on Sept 1st, we were keen to get going as soon as we could.   As this project brings together a team who haven't all worked together before we decided we should start with some introductions.   Rather than the typical round-table, everyone had to bring an item that represented their role in the project.   Here are some examples:

Rob brought a sample of that has been sprayed using the EHDA method we are going to use to coat the sludge briquette.

 Alison brought a sample of the "fake poo" that had been used to test the toilets at the Fair (actually Miso paste, available from Waitrose....)

Elise brought a calculator to remind us to keep our ideas within budget!   We weren't sure why it needs to be pink!

Sean brought some news stories that showed us that despite all our crazy ideas, there's a very serious reason why we are trying to "reinvent the toilet".

The Cranfield team attends the Reinvent the Toilet Fair

Last month Alison, Ewan and Athanasios were invited to Seattle to attend the Reinvent the Toilet Fair.   At the Fair the Round 1 grantees were exhibiting, so of course we were keen to see their progress and get inspired for our project which started two weeks later.   The event was fantastic with a real focus on networking and sharing ideas.   All of the toilets had been physically shipped to the Fair so we could see the designs in action!   The Fair was also attended by many other Gates grantees on sanitation, so we could see other ideas and components which we may be able to incorporate into our design.  

There was a huge media presence at the Fair, with everyone really interested on what crazy ideas were being presented, as well as why Bill Gates has chosen sanitation as an issue to focus on. It was good to see toilets being given such a high profile, as they are certainly not at the sexy end of the development spectrum!

We now can't wait to get started!