Photo: Andreas Johansen

Roskilde: 50 shades of yellow

Entrepreneurship Waste water and water discharge
Many people drink more liquids than usual when they are attending a music festival. But people often forget to take their water bottles, and resort instead to a lukewarm can of beer or other forms of alcohol. ‘50 shades of yellow’ aims to do something about this.

Whether the sun is shining or it is pouring down, it takes an effort to stay hydrated when you are at a festival. Camilla Düsterdich Hansen and Joanna Nathan Jensen, who are studying Design and Innovation at DTU, have therefore hit on a project with the enticing name, ‘50 shades of yellow’.

The project is very simple: To the untrained eye, it looks just like a regular urinal. One of the hundreds at Roskilde Festival. But this urinal has some special equipment. It can tell you whether you are dehydrated, or are getting enough water.

“The equipment uses a sensor to measure the light intensity in the fluid entering the urinal. A small computer then analyses the result and a screen tells you whether you are in good shape, or should consider drinking some water,” explains Camilla.

"We hope that the urinal may help remind festival goers to drink enough water."
Camilla Düsterdich Hansen, BSc student at DTU

Tested using juice and soy sauce
The project came into being because Joanna and Camilla both have experience from Roskilde Festival in particular. They were aware that it has been difficult, year after year, to remind people that beer and alcohol are no substitute for water when they spend hour after hour wandering around, dancing and frolicking in a field on Zealand.

Even though the project was cobbled together in just three weeks, it is working very well, they report.

To test the urinal, they used various urine-like liquids to calibrate the light intensity sensor. This process involved elderflower juice, soy sauce, apple juice and a dark malt beer, among other fluids.

Perhaps more next year
The urinal is now ready for use. And the first users have tested it. Camilla and Joanna will monitor along the way whether the urinal is having the desired effect and people are actually drinking more water, if the computer advises them to.

“We have only made one urinal, but it is in an area only accessible to the many volunteers who keep Roskilde Festival running. We suspect that they are sometimes so busy that they may forget to look after themselves. We therefore hope that the urinal may help remind them to drink enough water,” explains Camilla.

What do users think of '50 Shades of Yellow?'

Jonathan, 24.
Studying physics at the University of Copenhagen.

"I think it's a mega cool idea. I actually chose this urinal because I wanted to know whether I was getting enough water. Fortunately I was!"

Foto: Andreas Johansen

Oliver, 19.
Newly graduated from senior high school.

“I chose to use ‘50 shades of yellow’ because it looked cool. The others are all the same boring grey colour, so I chose the bright yellow one instead. It’s also cool that you can learn something while relieving yourself.”

 Foto: Andreas Johansen