6 Years in the Making: How We Built the Nebia Shower System
No matter the weather, the location, the mood, you shower everyday. It’s the time to get clean, take a breath and reflect on the day. Unfortunately, clean water will not be plentiful forever and showers are particularly inefficient. A single shower can use up to 20 gallons of water. As the population swells from 7 to 10 billion by 2050, and climate change provokes increasing freshwater shortage, we will need to be more efficient with this precious resource.
At Nebia, we have spent the last 6 years reinventing every aspect of the shower, starting by turning the concept of a water stream on its head. Through meticulous research and thoughtful human-centered design, we created a shower system that makes less water feel like so much more.
It took us six years, but if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Notable Prototypes Through the Years:
Phase 1: Engineering an Experience
The key to a great shower experience is how much water comes into contact with your skin. With traditional showers, the narrow streams limit the potential for points of contact and most of the water goes straight down the drain. Through water atomization, water is broken down into millions of droplets. Nebia’s proprietary H2Micro technology controls the trajectory of every drop to construct precise water patterns. 10x more water comes into contact with your skin while using 70% less water.
R&D: Thermofluid Simulations
Using computational fluid dynamics software, our R&D team tested hypothesis after hypothesis through thermofluid simulations. We simulated thousands of nozzle and spray arrays to thoroughly understand the dependencies between droplet size, velocity, spray angle, pressure, temperature and nozzle geometry. This enabled us to achieve the optimal balance between rinsability, immersion, and temperature. Every drop is engineered to envelop your body like a cocoon through simultaneous overhead and side sprays. The difference is like switching from 2D to 3D or from a stereo to a surround sound system.
Validating the Research: Testing, Testing, Testing...
For an intimate product like Nebia, it was paramount to test the hypothesis from our computational simulations in the real world. The human experience in the shower has always been the most important factor in the process of designing Nebia. Over 1,000 people have given feedback on 12 prototypes of the Nebia Shower System in gyms, hotels, homes and our office. Understanding the preferences of the user in context was key to improving upon each prototype. Thanks to Equinox Gyms, Apple, Stanford and Google for opening their (shower) doors to us.
“I love the way it envelops you in a cloud, instead of being pounded by a single point of pressure!” - Googler, 2015
Phase 2: Designing for the 21st Century. Out with the old, in with the new
Nebia was started on the premise of creating great products that fundamentally change the way people think about their relationship to water in their home. It only makes sense for the Nebia Shower System to also challenge the conventional design of a shower. We strove for a bold and modern look, more adjustability, and an effortless installation process.
To successfully change a deeply rooted habit, we needed to build a product that exceeded expectations in every way. We partnered with leading industrial design firm Box Clever to create an iconic and versatile design. Made of anodized aluminum (one of the most sustainable material on the planet) with an anodized and bead blasted finish, Nebia won't look or feel in any way ordinary.
Phase 3: Crafting prototypes after prototypes
Nebia consists of over 100 individual components. Each of these components has been individually conceptualized by engineers and designers who sketched, created rough mock ups, and flushed final mechanical designs in CAD. This meticulous process from ideation to final design is imperative for creating a category defining product.
Our engineers hard at work using every tool in our arsenal.
Building by Breaking
We are building a product that will be used everyday for years to come. We therefore take reliability testing to hone the breaking points of the Nebia Shower System under extreme stress very seriously. We have adopted rigorous testing practices from leading technology companies. We test our moving components and fluidics systems continuously for days, running between 10,000 to 100,000 cycles.
Just the Right Touch
Finally, during the production Design Validation Phase (DVT), the aesthetic quality of the product is scrutinized. Our goal is to leave you with a sense of awe and satisfaction every time you interact with Nebia, and we make sure everything feels exactly as intended.
Breakdown of the Nebia Shower System
Phase 4: Manufacturing in the U.S.A.
To ensure high quality craftsmanship, we selected a manufacturing partner in the Midwest with decades of experience, a love for building and painstaking attention to detail.
Sourcing and building locally also helps us minimize the environmental impact of our supply chain and ensures that the workers who are crafting Nebia have fair wages and good working conditions.
Phase 5: 2017, Ready for the World
Since the beginning of 2017, we have delivered over 10,000 Nebia Shower Systems. The response has been phenomenal: many are comparing Nebia to being like a spa in the comfort of their own homes. We estimate that by the end of the year, people showering with Nebia will have saved over 40 million gallons of water. This proves that taking care of yourself and the planet don’t have to be mutually exclusive.