Originality..

I have a real weakness in my creative endeavors.. It’s originality. It’s not that I’m unoriginal, it’s that I feel like I have to be entirely original. My mind tells me that an idea that’s been done isn’t worth touching. Realistically, I know this isn’t true; almost anything can be improved upon. Regardless, I struggle with this.

Along these lines, I’m currently trying to decide what to do about my IBDC project. I spent a few weeks developing an idea, and have been slowly modeling it and working out details only to find that someone has already done something very similar.
So I’ve been working on a design for the International Bicycle Design Competition for the past few weeks. My idea targets 3rd world and developing countries by 1. allowing individuals/communities the ability to use this bike to pump/transport water and 2. charge cell phones, as they are becoming more important in lesser developed countries where many people don’t have electricity in their homes.

So I work up this idea. It’s a regular bike, with a rack on the back to hold a water tank. the rack can rotate down to form a stand (like a bike trainer) so the bike can be pedaled while stationary. The drive system for the pump and generator run off of a hub mounted disk, not dissimilar to a disk brake.

A couple of days ago, I’m googling around for info on pumps and bike parts, and I encounter this project:http://thecoolprojectsite.org/?p=845 (or here for more details on the build: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A … df&h=fc315 ) Basically, it’s the same rotating stand idea. instead of the pump/generator on a ring/pinion drive system, they are run as a traction system from the tire.

My working model:
My preliminary IBDC bike.. not done..
So now I’m left wondering if it’s above board for me to continue with my project as planned, or scrap it and start over with 6 days before the submission deadline. I really don’t yet understand the social / ethical landscape of design enough to know for sure. I’ve posted the question over at core77, so hopefully I’ll hear back. In the mean time, I’m trying to come up with a new idea that I could knock out quickly.
All that said, definitely check out the link to http://www.mayapedal.org. Some really cool and useful projects made from junk. If I wasn’t stuck here, I think it would be a ton of fun to work on this type of stuff for people who could really use it.
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