This 14-Year-Old Invented a Pedal Powered Washing Machine

Now 23, Remya works as a Serial Innovator for the National Innovation Foundation in India.


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They say "necessity is the mother of invention" and Remya Jose from Kizhattoor Panchayat, India is perfect example for the ingenuity that is born from hardship.

Jose was just 14 years old, her mom fell ill and she and her sister had to take over helping with household chores. She wanted to make her job of hand-washing the family's clothes in the nearby river a little easier, and she knew that her family could not afford an electric washing machine.

She began to research how electric washing machines work. She did not want to burden her father with the cost of electricity, so she invented a human-powered washing machine. Her father helped her find the parts and a local auto shop helped her build it and at just fourteen years old, Jose invented a pedal-powered washing machine.

The machine has an aluminum chamber with a wire cylinder in which you place the laundry to soak in hot soapy water. The cylinder is connected to a bike chain and pedals, and the user pedals to spin the clothes. The soapy water is drained through a faucet, and then the machine is refilled with clean water for the final rinse. This simple machine is an excellent solution for families in villages like Jose’s who cannot afford electric washing machines.

The machine is gentler on the clothes than traditional electric machines. You can still easily wash your clothes during a power outage, and you save electricity. You even get some exercise while doing your laundry!

At eighteen years old, Jose was given the National Award from from Indian president Abdul Kalam, and she applied for a patent for her machine. She is now in her 20s and is employed as a Serial Innovator at the National Foundation in India. Her focus is on creating machines that will help people in villages such as her beloved hometown of Kizhattoor Panchayat.

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