University Students invent the "Uji" high pressure shower head -

It turns from green to red when taking a shower become less energy-efficient.

High Pressure Shower Head Competition

Student Members of the MIT development team

What do a portable, flameless cooking pot and a high pressure shower head that encourages users to conserve water have in common? The two devices — as well as eight other novel inventions — are entries in the ASME Innovation Showcase (IShow), which will be held June 22 during the ASME Annual Meeting next month in Indianapolis.

The ASME IShow, which has been inspiring students to be product innovators and entrepreneurs for the past seven years, provides teams of graduate and undergraduate students the full experience of technology product commercialization. A panel of judges will select the most innovative and practical ideas, awarding the top three winners more than $20,000 in seed funds as well as industry recognition. The IShow is supported by the ASME Foundation and Mechanical Engineering magazine.

One of the innovations entered in this year’s competition, “Heatware,” is a portable, flameless pot that heats liquids and precooked food using a safe exothermic chemical reaction. Developed by a student team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “Heatware” repurposes the military Meals-Ready-to-Eat technology in a consumer-friendly manner. Within 10 minutes, the device heats food to 90 C, preparing up to three servings of chili, pasta or other foods. Intended users of the product include campers, boaters, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

energy efficient high pressure shower heads
The "Uji" high pressure shower head turns from green to red when taking a shower become less energy-efficient.

“Uji,” designed by students at Tufts University, is a high pressure head that helps users save water, energy, and money by changing from green to red as users take longer, less efficient showers. According to the team, that reduction in average shower time pays for itself in energy savings after only seven months in a home setting, and three months in a university dorm room where more people use the same showerhead on a daily basis. Today, the low pressure 2.5-gallon-per-minute shower head remains the legal standard. Shower heads are still manufactured with high flow water restrictors, but the washers don't always save water. It is an open secret in the plumbing world that consumers often remove them. After low-flow shower heads are installed in their New York apartment building, the characters of  a 1996 episode of "Seinfeld" can't rinse the shampoo from their hair. After a few days of matted locks, Newman receives a tip for black market Yugoslavian high pressure shower heads. They buy a high-flow high pressure shower head from a black-market dealer in an unmarked van. Kramer picks a high pressure shower head used for elephants, but it ends up being too powerful and it forces him out of the tub.

The other inventions competing for seed funding at the IShow include two additional inventions from MIT: the “Coriolis Hematocrit Centrifuge,” which is designed for rural clinics without access to electricity or to state-of-the-art centrifuges, and “OneBin,” a multi-compartment airport security bin designed to decrease inspection time. Also participating in the event are Bournemouth University, with the “Epidural Needle Insertion Simulator”; Brigham Young University, with the “Shot Coach” tracking device for basketball players; Harvard University, with “Theratech,” a technology platform that allows for the easy delivery of concentrated liquids; Johns Hopkins University, with “AccuRIGHT,” a one-time, non-invasive treatment for hypertension; the University of Michigan, with its “TurtleCell” cell phone case with retractable ear-buds; and Washington University at St. Louis, with its “Sparo Labs” pocket-sized spirometer.

For more information on the ASME IShow program, visit The ASME IShow Page, or contact Patti Snyder by e-mail at For details on the ASME Annual Meeting, go to

Penn State University installs low-flow high pressure shower heads

Low-flow shower heads once had a reputation for being wimpy, pathetic and just down-right unbearable; however, nowadays choosing a low-flow shower head no longer means having to give up what you want in a shower head. The pressure compensating flow regulator is a feature on low-flow shower heads which allows it to maintain the same flow rate over a variety of water pressures. Many low-flow manufactures believe that failure to incorporate such a mechanism will result in a disappointing showing experience for many users. But as much as I (and my scathed skin) hate to admit it, I think these shower heads are a great idea, and I applaud Penn State for its commitment to the environment. With upwards of 13,100 students living on campus, the water and energy savings from low-flow high pressure shower heads verses high flow heads are very significant. With a 2.5 GPM shower heads, each of these students showering once a day for 10 minutes–a rather conservative estimate for college students–equates to an astounding 2,275,000 gallons of water just for one week’s worth of showering (not to mention other water usage and the energy required to heat that water and then process it at a wastewater treatment facility). A 1.5 GPM shower head can reduce that water consumption by 40%–that’s a reduction of over 13 million gallons of water per semester. And I think we can all agree that a bit of discomfort in the shower is a reasonable tradeoff for millions of gallons of water savings.


What to look for in a low-flow high pressure shower head

Look for a low-flow high pressure shower head.
WaterSense Stamp
  • Clearly marked maximum GPM flow rate
  • WaterSense certification logo
    • WaterSense products are tested for the following criteria
      • Water effecincy
      • Spray coverage
      • Spray force
  • No removable flow restrictor