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Monday, December 22, 2014

Group designs tech shower

news@dailylobo.com

The University of New Mexico’s Innovative Design Clinic, has created, a touch screen shower designed to save water.

The touch screen shower, the Hydrotouch, recently took first place in the UNM Business Plan Competition, in the Entrepreneurial Ventures Track category.

IDC software team manager John-Mark Collins said what makes the shower unique is the ability to control your shower from the phone.

“You can wake up in the morning and turn on the shower from your phone and as soon as the shower is at the temperature you like, it will alert you to it,” he said. “So it actually speeds up your morning process.”

The Hydrotouch has a touch screen inside the shower, as well as an Android app to control the water, according to a video about IDC.

While other specialized touch screen showers sell for upwards of $5,000, Collins said the Hydrotouch was aimed at the average consumer. He said the touch screen shower and accessories would cost consumers around $500.

IDC business team leader Garret McDonnel is working with corporate sponsors at Robert Hardy Systems and SimplyDesign to determine whether the Hydrotouch has a future on the commercial market.

“Once a prototype model has been finalized, we can start filing for patent protection for the intellectual property that we’ve worked to develop. That is the first step towards commercialization, and an exciting one at that,” McDonnel said.

The IDC is an exclusively unique Capstone Design program at UNM that provides participants an interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to their education.

At other universities, Capstone Design programs are department specific, but UNM has taken the concept to another level by opening the program to teams comprised of students from various academic disciplines, including business, fine arts and engineering, according to an email sent by Dr. Richard Compeau.

IDC team manager Alexandria Haddad said the program’s interdisciplinary approach provided her with the real-world experience that she was looking for.

“I know out in the real world I am not going to be working with just engineers,” she said.“I am going to be working with marketing people and design people so for me personally, this gave me an extensive amount of experience to do not only the engineering part but also experience for what I am going to be doing for real when I graduate.”

IDC is allowing students to enroll in the 2014 to 2015 project, and is available for students in the honors program. To enroll, students must first speak with their academic counselor and then contact Dr. Compeau for approval. There are 17 spots available in the program.