For hands-free water conservation in the shower, OaSense automatically pauses the water flow when you step out from under it.
When it comes to conserving water in the bathroom, taking a 'navy shower' by turning the water off while you're not actively using it, such as when shampooing or soaping up, is one way to cut down on water waste. But keeping the water at the optimal showering temperature while one does so isn't always easy or without a hassle, and shower-ers (shower-ees?) have to make the effort to turn it off and back on again several times during the shower, which makes it much less likely that people will do so.
One of the key elements of getting more people to regularly choose smarter greener options is to make the more sustainable choice as simple and as frictionless as possible. By removing some of the steps, or by taking some of the perceived 'pain' out of making an eco-friendly choice, it becomes easier for more people to conserve resources without adding a whole lot of extra work, either mentally, financially, or physically, to their lives. And a forthcoming water conservation product, OaSense, aims to do that in people's bathrooms, through a 'smart' showerhead offered as a drop-in replacement for standard fixtures.
OaSense essentially takes what virtually every modern public restroom faucet does, which is to use a sensor to identify when a person is actively using it, and applies it to the shower. The shower-er sets the temperature and pressure of their shower as usual, but then, instead of having to shut off the water manually when it's not actively being used, such as while soaping or shampooing, they simply step out from under the showerhead and OaSense pauses the flow automatically. When ready to rinse, the user just steps back under the showerhead, and OaSense turns the flow back on again immediately, at the same pressure and temperature as before, allowing for an easy reduction in water consumption in the shower.
OaSense is currently in a crowdfunding phase, and here's the video pitch:
The units, which are made in the US, are said to fit standard water supply pipes (US 1/2" NPT), are powered by four AA batteries (estimated life 1 year), and have a switch to allow for the bypass of the sensing mode on demand.
According to OaSense, the current version is the result of creator Evan Schneider making and testing more than 15 prototypes, with the beta units receiving glowing feedback from field testing in households. He's now raising money for the tooling necessary to manufacture the components of the showerheads via Kickstarter, and backers of the campaign can choose from five different colors of showerhead with a pledge of $175 USD, said to be $40 off of the expected retail price of the OaSense.