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An Ultra-Simple Vacuum Kit, Designed For Easy Repairs

A student creates the Broo-ver — a motorized broom — hoping to empower users to fix their own vacuums.

I adore my vacuum. It might seem strange to express affection for an unsophisticated piece of technology — it’s no Dyson after all — but it’s served me well for more than 10 years. Should it break down, however, I wouldn’t hesitate to toss it, knowing that it would cost more to repair than replace. I?m not alone: Countless vacuums end up in landfills, even though fixing them would require just a few new parts.

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Countless vacuums end up trashed, though they could be fixed.

That was the impetus for Ben Fursdon, a recent graduate of Kingston University London, to design a vacuum so simple that even the least mechanically inclined owners could take it apart and fix it themselves. For his stripped down hoover, Fursdon used an ordinary broom as the base of a mechanism consisting of a hose, motor, filter, a transparent plastic canister, and a power cord. He christened his hybrid creation the Broo-ver. “One of the key design decisions was to restrict the amount of plastic used in the vacuum cleaner, hence the minimal and unobtrusive aesthetic,” Fursdon tells Co.Design.

That’s all well and good, you might say, but how’s the suction? Not bad, Fursdon attests, because the air has little distance to travel from the floor to the motor. “I wouldn’t dare say it would outperform a Dyson, but it is still very good for a simple piece of engineering.” And how does it perform on carpeting? Fursdon has designed a range of adapters for floors, carpets, and even for picking up pet hair. Since most people have both hard flooring and carpeting, users must do a bit of self-assembling, leading them to gain some knowledge of how to take the thing apart and put it back together.

Fursdon designed a range of canister capacities for different sized homes and, after doing some initial research, thinks that the retail price can be kept between $80 and $130 — about a quarter of the cost of a low-end Dyson.

About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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