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This Student-Designed, Bicycle-Powered Washing Machine Is Helping People in Developing Countries

This Student-Designed, Bicycle-Powered Washing Machine Is Helping People in Developing Countries

This is SpinCycle, a bicycle-powered washing machine that prevents people from having to wash clothes by hand in developing countries. It’s the brainchild of Rich Hewitt, a student, and volunteer who was washing around 30 loads of children’s clothes at an orphanage in Burundi, Central Africa when the innovative idea came to him.

Having to complete a self-directed project as part of his Product Design degree at Sheffield Hallam, Hewitt decided to design SpinCycle. Initially, he designed a tricycle with a “washing machine” on the back. This included a “rota-molded wash drum, jerry cans, belt-driven perforated inner drums and a soap grater for use with blocks of detergent,’ which is often used in Africa.



Hewitt eventually came up with a simpler, more affordable redesign with the help of two Sheffield-based businesses, Gripple, who sponsors Incub and Goodman Sparks, a supplier of commercial laundry systems. Today, the first “SpinCyclist” is running a fully-equipped cycle-powered laundry service in Ngozi. SpinCycle is also being used throughout Burundi.

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