Flint Water Crisis

Create a short-term and long-term solution for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan


Flint, Michigan has had a water issue since 2014 and as of today the City has reverted back to getting their water from the Detroit River instead of the Flint River. There are residents that are still experienceing these issues and the City of Flint has not made any progress to reparing those issues. The City of Flint as of 2018 has been attempting to replace/clean pipes that are contanimated with high levels of lead. This project was for a class at Michigan State Uniiversity - AL 444: Researching Experience Architecture. Our team was given a water issue and we had to create two solutions that would help solve the water issue. Our team was tasked to solving the water crisis that was happening in Flint, Michigan.

The Problem

As we all know the water crisis in Flint was a national issue and some Flint residents are still reporting that they still don't have access to clean water, The city is replacing the lead pipes but are running into some issues that are slowing their progress. Our team created two solutions for both the residents and the construction workers. We decided that focusing on one group wasn't going to resolve the issue, we needed to help everyone. Since the resident's of Flint were having issues accessing clean water, we wanted to focus on creating an app that will help them locate clean drinking water. Since replacing and locating every pipe that had been contaminated with lead would be difficult, time consuming and expensive for the city we wanted to design a wearable that allows to locate the lead pipes

The Design

Digital prototype: App
Physical prototype: AR Glasses
Physical prototype: Boot strap - top view
Physical prototype: Boot strap - bottom view


There were some challenges that we've stumbled upon during the duration of this project for both the digital and physical solution. During the early design process for the digital prototype we were struggling to decide between designing an app that will either benefit the residents or the city officials of Flint. We ended up choosing to design an app for both of them. Instead of designing two apps and having the city officials download a separate app if they wanted to find clean drinking water or having the residents wait in line at the city hall to submit requests, we decided to design app that will meet both of their needs. From the start of the project our team knew that we wanted to mainly focus on the workers that will be in charge of replacing the lead pipes but, we were't sure what product we wanted to design. Some initial ideas for the physical solution was to design a shovel that will detect metal, add a metal detector to the claw of the excavator, and liquid solution that will clean the lead pipes. Our team decided that the best solution to locate and replace the lead pipes would be a boot strap that can locate lead pipes and AR glasses to show a accurate visualization of where the lead pipes are located.

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