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Bicilavadora – the pedal powered washing machine


The Bicilavadora is a pedal powered washing machine made from easily obtainable parts and designed for developing countries. The clever machine has been under development for four years by a team at MIT, and uses an oil drum and bicycle running gear for its main components. Apparently the big problem is making sure the washing mechanism inside is robust enough and yet cheap. The video shows off the impressive spin cycle – arf! – to expel excess water from the wash load. Cool stuff indeed.

 The machine’s outer housing is made from a standard oil drum cut apart and welded back together to make a much shorter barrel, because “a full 55-gallon barrel is more laundry than any human can pedal,” explains Gwyndaf Jones, a D-Lab instructor who worked on the earlier version and who led this year’s Peru field trip. The inner, rotating drum is made from a set of identical plastic pieces bolted together, which can be taken apart and stored flat for easy transportation.

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