The Tap Gets Smart

Alex Shane lives on a sailboat. One night he noticed his tap running. No big deal for landlubbers. But boaters have to pump in every gallon of fresh H20 themselves, so wasting water is unacceptable.

This is when Alex, an industrial designer, had an idea: an auto-off, on-demand, easy to trigger spigot called the smart faucet. I now use it in my kitchen.

This thing is so simple, I can't believe it wasn't invented before the clapper: It's just a valve that attaches to your sink spout, with a long lever to activate flow. Confused? Watch the video:

It's basically a quick-draw tap.

If you absolutely must have a constant stream of water, there's a latch for that. But that's not the point. The Smart Faucet is designed to provide flow when you need it, without having to go through the hassle of turning knobs and disrupting your perfectly set water temperature. Or having to take the time to turn a regular tap on and off. It works. I hope it saves me a ton of water. Alex claims up to 19,000 litres per year, per person. I'll be happy if I save a tenth of that from not turning off the tap while brushing my teeth.

I got the chrome model for my kitchen sink. It's new, and costs $US29 on Amazon: more than double the price of the black plastic one. It drips if I crank the water pressure all the way and leave it sitting, and the overall flow is reduced compared to a wide open spigot. And it took me a few days to get used to using it - not to mention having a long metal rod protruding into my sink, clanking against dishes. But the sink doesn't run when I'm soaping dishes now. Only when I'm rinsing them. And I figure I'm saving gallons of water that I would ordinarily send straight down the drain. I'm pretty sure that within the year, I'll have a smart tap on every sink in my house.

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