“SaniWedge” is the working title for a truly independent portable, on site spa, bath, shower and toilet facility. The name comes from its unique aerodynamically friendly bullet shape and its ability to be a fully operational personal hygiene oasis. Because of its unique shape, multiple SaniWedges can be parked in a circle, like spokes on a wheel, to form the SaniWedge “Pod”. Water, electricity, and waste removal services can be provided from a single wire, pipe, and tube making a SaniWedge Pod easy to service in the field.
The construction concept for the SaniWedge is that it be made completely modular. The SaniWedge consists of a tapered cabin made of a plastic/fiberglass material, to be determined, mounted on a prepared metal alloy frame, similar to a horse trailer. The cabin material must be lightweight, durable, mold resistant, and easy to clean.
The frame is predrilled to accept tubing, wiring and piping for electrical, plumbing and HVAC. A space at the back of the frame must be designed to accept a pullout ramp for handicapped access to the door. The cabin itself is made in 3 removable sections; a roof and two sides. The roof has a recessed, protected solar panel built in and predrilled holes and hardware for ventilation, and lighting. The walls are made with tubing and wiring in the appropriate places for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and options pre-placed between the inner and outer walls. Aluminum or metal alloy struts inside the walls for structure and strength are predetermined as to allow for the “window option,” available on all models except for combat ready. All the tubing and wiring begin and end in the nose of the wedge. The over-all dimensions of the SaniWedge field service model (FSM) will ultimately be determined by its interior. The approximate dimensions of the cab are 12’ long, 6 ‘ wide, and 7’ tall.
Releasing the walls for repair is a matter of disconnecting wires and tubes in the nose cone and in the cabin, and releasing the bolts that connect the cab together and the frame. The sink, toilet, desk, closet and tub modules are free standing and bolted down to the frame, independent of the walls. The water tank, electrical components, pumps for waste removal etc., are primarily located in the nose cone. Both sides of the cone have removable doors for easy access. The electrical, water, waste, and HVAC systems are designed to be easy to reach, easy to remove and repair, and easy to upgrade and customize. Part of the charm of the SaniWedge is that you can upgrade and customize it the same way you would personalize your own bathroom.
The interior of the SaniWedge must be built with the ability to adjust to handicapped access, whether that be permanent tube rails or hardware built to accept a handicapped access package if need be.
Two tubes run through the body and/or under the cabin; one brings in fresh air and the other to remove steam and odors. The fresh air can be heated or cooled by on-board units located aft of the toilet module. Heating and cooling units can be removed easily, independently of the toilet module.
Bad air will exit through an opening in the forward roof and fresh air is collected through vents placed lower on the sides.
The SaniWedge should have a three way approach to electricity; 1. Solar,
2. on-board batteries and 3. traditional 3 prong plug-in from an outside power source. The on board batteries can be charged using the turning of the wheels, solar power, or from the external power source. As the SaniWedge is being driven to location, the batteries can be charged and water can be heated through a tankless water heater.
The rear of the SaniWedge comes with two taillights on either side with stop, turn, and emergency light capability that comply with all Department of Transportation standards. A license plate light can be placed on either side, on the door, or in the rear bumper, to be determined later.
The SaniWedge should also come equipped with an exterior light over the door, to illuminate the entrance. That light should be adjustable to be able to light the handicapped access ramp if need be.
Both sides of the SaniWedge should have three running lights, again, to D.O.T. standards.
The nose cone should have a covered duel outlet AC box inside and outside. The outside lights have the option of being powered by towing the vehicle or directly from the SaniWedge.
The SaniWedge comes with four overhead lights recessed in the ceiling. Two AC inputs are located on the wall above the desktop along with a universal telephone charger.
Wi-fi, GPS, television, phone charger, and other communication wiring should be pre-placed as an option. A tankless water is mounted under the sink and a second tankless water heater is located in the nose cone for the tub and shower. The air heater and air conditioner can be located either under the sink or in the nose cone. Pre-installed wiring running through the walls, floor and/or ceiling should be insulated and run through plastic tubing to be easy to fix or replace if need be.
The Toilet – This is one of those areas where the designer should bow to the engineer. The original idea was for the SaniWedge to have a combustible toilet as to cut down on odors and make the SaniWedge easy to clean. The better thought is to make the SaniWedge as flexible as possible and provide the option of both the combustible toilet and the traditional RV toilet that requires waste be sucked out mechanically.
The toilet itself is located on the left as you enter.
When not in use, the interior toilet lid is closed and the toilet module is covered by a cushioned bench seat. The bench seat clips closed with an airtight seal. The adjustable fan built into the toilet module blows air in a tube that exits out the roof. The fan comes on automatically when you sit down.
The Sink and Water Purifier – Immediately on the left, as you enter, mounted in the corner, is a tri-angular sink. On the top of the sink is the spout, a hot water handle, a cold water handle, and a drinking water spout connected to a water purification unit built in below the sink. As with the toilet and bath modules, the waters source can be on board from the water tank (tanks) or from the exterior water supply. The sink drains into a holding tank or can be set to drain directly under the SaniWedge when appropriate. Across from the toilet is a desk with drawers and open compartments for storage (towels, toilet tissue, toothpaste, etc.). The wall above the desk has a mirror centrally located. Underneath the mirror are plug-ins for 3-prong AC power, telephone, and computer. The SaniWedge is also equipped with a GPS unit.
Tub and Shower – Currently on the market are several versions of easily installed step-in, sit down bathtubs. The bath and shower unit in the SaniWedge should echo the best aspects of this design and technology.
I believe Premier Corporation is the largest manufacturer of this kind of tub. Premier or one of these companies could be considered for a joint venture when it comes to producing the tub and shower section for the SaniWedge.
In addition to the tub, a showerhead should be located on the left side of the cabin and the water for the tub should be located on the left side as well, putting the water systems on one side.
The door to the tub is centrally located. A shower curtain hangs down and can be slid into place when the shower is in use. Like the sink, water from the shower can be drained directly out or into a holding tank that can be remotely opened when the SaniWedge is on the move or drained from a storage tank.
1. Disclaimer signs advising parents about the dangers of leaving a child or children unattended should be clear and obvious inside the SaniWedge and in the literature that comes with a new unit.
2. All plugs should be GFI to prevent water related electric shock.
3. Steps in and out of the unit should be rubber coated and be marked with luminescent strips.
4. The overhead outdoor light should be wired to automatically come on (unless shut off purposely) when the door opens.
MODELS & OPTIONS
The SaniWedge comes in five models and three body sizes:
1. Field Service Model – The FSM is the basic unit and although it is manufactured, pre-wired and pre-piped for the option packages, the FSM comes with a standard highway suspension unit, basic electrical and plumbing, and everything it needs to be on the road safely and legally in all 50 states and Canada.
2. The Field Service Model Extreme (FSM-X) – The FSM-X comes with an extra rugged suspension set-up designed to go off road. Exterior lights come with wire protective cover. The frame is lengthened to accept a second exterior water tank for extended stays in remote areas. The tub comes equipped with the pulsating water jet feature. It’s a perfect way to empty the water for the return trip home and get a great hydro-massage after a long weekend of motor biking, camping, or whatever your extreme passion is. A GPS unit is standard on the SaniWedge FSM-X.
3. FSM-X Military – The FSM-X military is similar to the FSM-X except it comes armor plated. If the window option is used, the window glass must be bulletproof. Military personnel should be consulted as to what other options might be applicable. Mountains, deserts, jungles and urban areas must be considered.
4. The SaniWedge Presidential – While all SaniWedges come prepared to accept all the options, the SaniWedge Presidential comes completely loaded. Built on a longer frame with a large cabin, it comes equipped with the pulsating water jets, dimmable interior lighting, a leather covered seat cushion, upgraded wood trim on the desk and closet module, a four speaker surround sound, a larger bathtub, and a LED TV screen that folds down from the roof so you can slip in a DVD and take a bath with your significant other.
Other features include a bidet, and a full service communications system with computer capabilities built into the desk. This unit is rock star and CEO ready. The window package for the Presidential model includes frosted, bulletproof glass in rectangular openings along the top. Other windows can be installed as desired, with the framing between the inner and outer walls of the cab.
THE SANIWEDGE MINI
The SaniWedge mini is similar to the FSM internally, but comes on a shorter frame, with a smaller cab, and accepts only an external water source. It has no water tank and no on-board batteries. Having a lighter weight, means the SaniWedge Mini can be towed by a small truck or automobile without putting undo stress on the towing vehicle. It comes prepared to accept the options offered for other SaniWedge models like windows, the pulsating water jets, the bidet, surround sound, TV or the communications center package so long as it doesn’t increase the weight appreciably. If it comes without the solar panel, a skylight becomes an option. All SaniWedge models have the option of a frosted window in the door if desired.
Who will use the SaniWedge?
1. Firefighters and the Military
The original idea for the SaniWedge came from watching California firefighters valiantly combat the disastrous fires in Southern California last year. The unique shape that gives the SaniWedge the “wedge” part of its name is because the SaniWedge was designed to be used in a “pod” (see Figure 2). Eight wedges can be circled so they can all share a single water source, a single power source and a single waste removal with the proper matrix. The pod can be made larger if need be during emergencies and for disaster use.
2. Campgrounds – National parks and public campgrounds like KOA can offer a SaniWedge, placed at your campsite as a rental option for visitors who need or want a private bathroom nearby. Whether it’s a family with three small children or seniors who need a bathroom on short notice, depending on the public restroom at a campsite can be risky not to mention unappealing. And don’t forget, you can take a bath or spa, not just a shower in your SaniWedge. Campgrounds that offer SaniWedge rentals will be preferred over those that don’t. The SaniWedge could pay for itself in one summer season and because it’s modular (easy to maintain) and well made, it should last for years to come.
3. Plumbers – Many people have told how they wish they had a SaniWedge when they remodeled their single bathroom home. It eliminates half the stress of a remodel, especially when the “unexpected” delays happen. Plumbers and contractors can offer to hook the SaniWedge up in the garage until construction is completed as part of their bid. A SaniWedge can also save people from having to move to a hotel when they have a plumbing emergency that can’t be repaired over night.
4. For Guests – Having an extra full service bathroom will make everyone more comfortable. You can even tell the kids to use the SaniWedge and let grandma and grandpa have the downstairs bathroom for themselves, although if your SaniWedge comes with the pulsating water jet feature, grandma and grandpa might pass on the downstairs bathroom in favor of the SaniWedge when it comes to bath time.
5. Family Crisis – Unfortunately hundreds of thousands of people will lose their homes in the next few years just as they have for the last few. Some folks will be able to move in with relatives, some into cars and vans, and some will have a motor home. A SaniWedge, owned, leased, or rented, allows them the freedom to not over-stay a welcome and keep their dignity until things get better.
6. Hunters and Fishermen – With its over the top, extra rugged suspension the SaniWedge Field Service suspension package lets your SaniWedge follow you into the woods. Whether a week in the wilds, overnight, or just a long day fishing, really cleaning up before the long ride home makes the trip back to civilization more comfortable especially when you walk through the front door. You and your vehicle won’t smell “fresh killed”.
7. People with intestinal or bowel problems who can’t travel because when they need a bathroom, they need one immediately. Many seniors are in this situation and towing a SaniWedge Mini would allow them to road trip or camp again. Germaphobes are also people who would want a private, portable toilet and bath facility.
Since I’ve designed this so many people have suggested needs. The most important one is on-site immersion care for burn victims and stroke victims who need immediate immersion therapy. Getting that on site instead of waiting to get to the hospital could mean the difference between life and death.
Another suggestion is that the SaniWedge Pod could be used to service and relocate our homeless population, especially during the winter months or in extreme heat. Communities wouldn’t have to appropriate their local high school. A collection of food trucks and SaniWedge Pods converts any empty warehouse into an emergency shelter in a matter of minutes. These could be used around the globe for emergencies.
Some of the other folks that could use a SaniWedge include construction workers in remote locations, people exposed to toxins that need to be washed off, sound and light techs at outdoor music festivals, parties at the river or on the beach, family gatherings, schools, business, on golf courses. The list goes on and on. Anyone and everyone can use a SaniWedge.
My thought has been to see if stimulus money would be available, especially if prototypes are being developed specifically for the military, like the FSM-X military. That would create both the first investors and the first customers.
Along with the tax revenue from sales, the state of manufacture would receive income from jobs in manufacturing, marketing and sales. There’s also the revenue states would gain from registration fees and license plates. This fact might make the Federal government consider the SaniWedge an even stronger candidate for stimulus funds.
Once registered for the highway, a SaniWedge will require insurance. This might make investing in the SaniWedge a good investment for people who are invested sympathetically.
New market revenue will be produced by renters, leasers, and owners purchasing insurance so they can safely and legally tow a SaniWedge. This might make the SaniWedge an attractive investment for investors in parallel industries.
ADVERTISING AND SALES
Retail sales would have to happen through licensed franchised dealers. Depending on traffic laws state to state, trailers, jet skis, generators and other tow-able entities may be subject to sales only by specific businesses that can sell a road ready product. That would need to clarified state to state.
The SaniWedge can be promoted and advertised on television, the internet and on new media. Both MTV and TNN have had programs that take cars and trucks through a major metamorphosis. One idea would be to have a contest for “How do you use your SaniWedge?” or “Pimp my SaniWedge” to show off the most outrageous modifications. Videos posted on youtube of SaniWedges in unlikely or far out locations would spread the word.
Product placement in a movie or television show is another marketing technique that would suit the SaniWedge. Once people know there’s a SaniWedge, it will sell itself.
START UP TIME AND COST TO MANUFACTURE
Currently there are vacant factories and plants all across the country that could be readily converted to produce part or all of the SaniWedge. Many of those properties are most likely deep in the red and that could mitigate some of the initial start up costs. South of Oakland in Fremont Ca., the local Numi plant, a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota closed and left hundreds of trained workers unemployed and an empty facility set up and ready to go. I couldn’t help but think how great it would be if there was a SaniWedge facility there.
Currently the only part of the SaniWedge that isn’t being made in the U.S. is the fiber cab construction. Molds would have to be made and materials tested for quality and safety, and to limit liability down the road. This would take the longest time to set up and have the highest cost. Initially I had imagined a non-toxic hemp based plastic in place of a fiber that’s petroleum based if only to protect against unstable oil prices, make a non-toxic cab, and again, create more American jobs. I’m not sure what’s possible at this point, whether that material is available or even being produced. I do know that during WWII we did produce plastics made from hemp to help in the war effort, so the science is there. To manufacture plastics from hemp now would be the beginning of an enormous industry. Imagine, the biodegradable plastic bag.
The inspiration behind the different models and sizes like the Mini, the FSM, Off Road, Extreme, and Military, and the Presidential, was to make the SaniWedge affordable on the low end, and super luxurious and user friendly on the high end. This also allows mid level customers to customize their unit to fit their budget and needs.
The original thought was that the Mini could retail somewhere between $4,000 to $5,000 for a base model, with extras additional.
The FSM and the FSM- Off road would start at $7,000, again with extras additional. The increased price of the FSM-X Military would depend on the cost of the bulletproofing materials at the time of construction, the labor to install them, any costs for additional structural modifications, the added shipping weight, the extras, and the terms of the contract.
The Presidential model should be custom order only with a starting price around $25,000. Celebrities, especially those with children, would no longer have to share a restroom with the public. Now they can travel with a full service, on site spa, tub, and toilet oasis.
The SaniWedge comes with standard suspension and plumbing but has the combustible toilet and the localized water heater options available. With technology changing the way it is, it might someday be possible to power a SaniWedge with a solar panel on the roof. The SaniWedge would be a good candidate for regular updates with new technology and potential future patents. Other than the two options I’ve noted, I’m unaware of other patents pending or patent holders that might need to be contacted and compensated.
Keeping the SaniWedge in top operating condition is important. Here are some areas;
- Waste Removal
Ashes – Vacuum
Paper – Collect and Recycle
Fluids and Feces – Sucked out by a truck or routed to an available drain.
For Pods – User the Matrix.
- Clean Up and Hygiene
Solo Unit – Normal bathroom and household cleaners and cleaning methods are suggested.
Pod – An attendant is advised, Additional equipment required: Brooms, Vacuum Cleaners, Hose, Trash Recepticles
- Check for Leaks – Roof and Ceiling – underside, toilet, tub, sink, water heater if applicable.
- Check Electricity – Bulbs: Interior and Exterior, tail lights, entrance light, all solar applications and connections, heater
- Check tire pressure regularly and lubricate chassis.
- Security – Pod – Homeless encampments might need video security and / or security personnel. Depending on the size and classification of those in need. Concert goers or fire victims would be different than the drug addicted, psychologically challenged, seniors, ex-convicts or children and refugees.
To be determined following production.