Students from the School of Engineering at Jönköping University, among other higher education institutions, 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 headquarters of Separett, a company that manufactures anhydrous toilet solutions. The project was done in collaboration with Jönköping University (JU), the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati, India, and Sami Shamoon College of Engineering in Be'er Sheva, Israel.
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 the 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 gave a fantastic performance. The models they produced look like final products and will therefore serve well in the decision-making process for further development of this product," he says.
Mikael Billsund, CEO of Separett, commented that the students' results exceeded his expectations.
"We couldn't have predicted 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.
Mikael Billsund says that the upcoming toilet product that the students have worked with will increase Separett's market share in an area where they hold relatively small claim 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."
Through TED week, Jönköping University gains international contacts and shows companies that it has good students, comments Lars Eriksson.
"That Separett's CEO speaks well about JU and the 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.
The students in the TED project in Värnamo
Eight students from the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati and from the School of Engineering. Sami Shamoon College of Engineering in Israel had four students in the project. The students from the School of Engineering represented the master's programmes Industrial Design and Product Development and Materials.
Separatt have requested that we do not publish any pictures of the students' models of the toilet product as they are planning to apply for IP certification for it. It may also take time for the product to be released on the market and Separett has chosen to retain the new value for this upon release of the product.