Conserving water is one of today's global agendas. So how can we devise a showerhead that makes it possible for the user to feel outstanding comfort with less water? This challenge led us to develop the Air-In Shower, launched in 2010, which added air to the water droplets, leading users to feel a greater abundance of water in the enlarged water droplets. This innovative product achieved water savings as well as enhancing shower comfort based on kansei ("sensitivity engineering"). In the West, however, most showerheads are larger in diameter than in Japan. So, we decided to create an enhanced ecological showerhead by improving the Aerial Pulse Shower.
In the development process, we decided to alternate the water flow by pulsation. We knew that our aerated, enlarged water droplets could realize water savings and a comfortable water flow. However, it was not proven yet if the "aerial pulse" of the technology would meet the level of comfort we aimed for. So we decided to have testers take up to take seven different types of showers to quantify exactly how we feel water. A number of subjects cooperated in this painstaking process. The results revealed that they felt the water flow in the Aerial Pulse Shower was higher than the average water flow in a normal shower. They also found that people recognize the shower's strongest water flow as its typical water flow.
In other words, we proved that the Aerial Pulse shower was very comfortable as well as effective at conserving water.
We decided to set the aerial pulse at an interval of 0.05 second, meaning a supply of 20 pulses of water per second. We then began tackling problems in the design process. The overhead shower developed for commercialization was in the shape of a large circle. How could we aerate the droplets that radiate out from the showerhead? How could we supply water from the nearly 100 waterspouts in the head at an equal strength? After we solved these hard questions, another obstacle was waiting for us - how could we install the aeration and aerial-pulse system in a thin showerhead? The system had to be contained within the inner structure of a head that was only 1 cm thick. Day after day, we struggled to design an extremely precise system on a 0.1 mm scale. In the end, it took us two-and-a-half years years to commercialize the product.
The result of our blood, sweat and tears was unveiled at the ISH, the world's biggest exhibition of water and energy equipment, held in Germany in spring 2013, and received favorable coverage. The Aerial Pulse Shower involves five technologies, three of which are the first of their kind in the world - the aerial-pulse technology, the water-pillar technology and the gyro-stream (water-stream massage) technology. I was very happy that not only our water-conservation efforts but also our improvements in shower comfort were applauded. I want to develop more products that are ecological yet comfortable for everyone in the world. That's my dream.