At the age of just fourteen, Remya Jose created her first invention: a pedal-powered washing machine made from recycled bike parts that can make laundry easier for families without electricity. Jose is from Kizhattoor Panchayat in India, and she came up with the idea when she and her twin sister were tasked with the family’s household chores after their mother fell ill. Instead of washing clothes by hand in the river, Jose invented her own solution that saves time and effort.

Jose began by studying electric washing machines and learning how they work, so that she could replicate the functionality in an entirely human powered machine. Her father helped her find the parts she needed for her design, and then took her sketch to a neighborhood auto shop, where the workers helped construct the machine.

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It worked even better than Jose had planned. The machine consists of an aluminum cabin with a wire cylinder inside, which holds the laundry. The cylinder is connected to a bike chain and pedal system. Laundry is placed inside the machine, along with hot water and detergent, and left to soak for ten minutes. Then, the user pedals to spin the laundry and clean it. A small faucet on the cabin drains the soapy water, and then the whole machine is refilled with clean water for a final rinse cycle. All in all, it’s an elegant and simple solution for families living in rural areas who might otherwise be without a washing machine.

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Jose’s invention didn’t go unnoticed – she was presented with the National Award from former Indian president Abdul Kalam, and at age 18 she applied for a patent on her device. Now in her mid-20s, she works as a Serial Innovator at the National Foundation in India, creating new inventions to help rural communities in her home country.

Via Better India

Photos via Brit + Co