Students from among others School of Engineering at Jönköping University have participated in an international project where they developed and modeled a waterless toilet for people in poverty.
– They exceeded our expectations, says Mikael Billsund, CEO of the company Separett in Värnamo.
In mid-November, the innovation week TED (Technology-Economy-Design) took place at Campus Värnamo and at the company Separett, which manufactures anhydrous toilet solutions. The project was done in collaboration with Jönköping University (JU), Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati, India, and Sami Shamoon College of Engineering in Be’er Sheva, Israel.
“Tried almost to surpass each other”
The students were divided into five groups. They were given the task of producing their own proposal for an anhydrous toilet for people living in poor conditions.
– The first day they almost tried to surpass each other with their skills, says Lars Eriksson, professor of industrial design at School of Engineering and one of the supervisors during TED week.
But there was no competition and eventually the students started to collaborate in a good way.
It is important that the final product is well implemented so that customers can imagine how it should be used, emphasizes Lars Eriksson. In addition, the toilet must be packed in flat packages to facilitate shipping.
Lars Eriksson is happy with the students’ final reports.
– They accounted for fantastic performance. The models they produced look like final products and will therefore serve well as decision-making basis for further development of this product, he says.
CEO: The students exceeded our expectations
Mikael Billsund, CEO of Separett, comments that the students’ results exceeded his expectations.
– We couldn’t predict that they would give us such input as they did. It was very gratifying for us and means that we can continue to work with many good ideas and produce a final product within about a year, ”says Mikael Billsund.
He thinks it was fun to be part of a TED project and mentions that it has provided him and his staff with lots of energy and knowledge.
“Will contribute to a better humanitarian environment”
Mikael Billsund says that the upcoming toilet product that the students have worked with will increase Separett’s market shares in an area where they are relatively small today.
– We will also contribute to a better humanitarian environment for people who don´t have toilets today and who do not have financial opportunities for such a basic thing as a proper toilet.
Gain international contacts
Through TED, Jönköping University gain international contacts and shows companies that they have good students, comments Lars Eriksson.
– That, as in this case, Separett’s CEO speaks well about JU and School of Engineering is very positive, he says. The students in the project have also broadened their contacts and gained valuable experience and a good reference in Mikael Billsund, Lars Eriksson points out.