There's nothing as calming as a long shower. No one will even know if you take one during a drought, as long as you're quiet about it, and no one will ever hold you accountable—but the Driblet water meter will.
Driblet co-founder Rodolfo Ruiz came up with the idea because his daughter liked to take long showers, like most other people lucky enough to have running water. He wanted to show her just how much water she was wasting, so he teamed up with cofounder Mario Garcia and entered AngelHack Monterrey, a hackathon in Monterrey, Mexico, with the Driblet concept. The team took first prize.
The smart water meter can be attached to any residential water pipe, where it captures data on how much water a household uses, along with information on water temperature and pressure. A Wi-Fi module built in to the device sends all of its data to your smartphone, breaking water habits down into digestible graphs of total water consumption and progress towards water-saving goals. The whole thing is powered by water pressure, so you can install it and forget about it. Others are also creating similar gadgets.
At first, Ruiz thought his family represented the ideal market for the Driblet (four to five people, concerned about water usage). But he soon realized that water savings aren't a priority to most individual consumers—as long as they have access to cheap water. "There are a lot of people interested in Driblet, but not as a final consumer. Landlords, NGOs, country governments are calling us and saying 'We need your project, we've been looking for something like it for several years,'" he explains.
For now, Driblet is raising money on Dragon Innovation's crowdfunding site. The campaign is somewhat lackluster so far. With 27 days left at the time of writing, Driblet has raised just $2,614 out of a $98,000 goal. It's a new site, says Ruiz, but it has its advantages: "Since they are a consultancy, they can help deliver hardware products, but they're not as popular as Kickstarter."
Even if Driblet doesn't reach its ambitious goal, production will still go ahead. The device, which has an early-bird price of $49, will ship sometime between June and October of next year, depending on whether it raises the full crowdfunding goal.