Galvin Kennedy


Walk on Water Challenge

Design a durable pool cover safe enough to be walked on so families can enjoy their backyards during the cold months.

Challenge Overview

Walk on Water Challenge


Backyard pools are awesome, except for those 4 - 6 months when it’s too cold to swim. Then the pool becomes an obstacle to using the backyard at all. I want to bring kids and families back outside by designing a durable pool cover that is safe enough to walk on (and skip on, jump on, wrestle on, dance on, . . . .)  This solution repurposes the concept of the entire backyard, not just the pool space alone.  A durable pool cover opens up the patio around the pool so that the entire combined areas (pool and hardscaping) can be covered with high quality cushioned artificial turf.  Presto chango! The entire area then becomes a space for play and entertaining.  A crew of 2-4 workers will be able to install and uninstall this pool cover in a single afternoon. 


Challenge Guidelines

Minimum Eligibility Criteria (Pass/Fail Requirements):

At a minimum, all pool cover designs must include:

  1. Drainage: Includes a drainage mechanism to avoid pooling rainwater.
  2. Do No Harm: Avoid any damage to the pool or surrounding patio during installation and use.
  3. Stability: Prevent any slippage, wobbling, sinking, or movement of the cover itself.
  4. Safety: Innovators should take into consideration that the design must ultimately be able to satisfy safety codes regarding structural integrity and load bearing support.
  5. Flush: Be level with the surrounding patio, no higher than 1/2 inch differential.
  6. Full Coverage: Cover 100% of the surface of a pool.

All designs that meet these minimum criteria will then be ranked according to the following scorecard:

  1. Customization (20 points)
  2. Replication and Scalability (20 points)
  3. Ease of Installation (15 points)
  4. Durability (15 points)
  5. Measurement (10 points)
  6. Surface comfort (10 points)
  7. Aesthetic Appeal (10 points)

Estimate your cost to manufacture one pool cover. Include line item expenses for all material costs and supplier information where possible.  Do not include labor costs for installation.  Assumptions: rectangular pool measuring 36 feet long, 14 feet wide and a constant sloping depth that starts at four feet on the shallow end and goes to 5.5 feet on the deep end. 


Updates 4

Challenge Updates

A Breakthrough in Pool Cover Design--Winners Announced!

Aug. 12, 2019, 4 p.m. PDT by Galvin Kennedy

I am proud to announce the winners in the Walk on Water Challenge.

By the close of the project, we received 21 entries from around the world. And, after seven weeks of judging, the award has been granted to two innovators: 

(1) Dario D’Amico from Italy; and 

(2) Bastian Stegen from Germany.  

Mr. D’Amico’s solution incorporates a universal bracket and fiberglass reinforced polymer joists which have multiple adjustable pieces that can accommodate virtually any shaped pool.  Mr. Stegen’s solution is based on floating cells that connect to one another. Both innovations have benefits that will be tested in the market to determine which one is favored. They stood out from other submissions because of their adaptability to multiple pool shapes and sizes and their potential to scale up quickly. 

Thanks to all of the innovators who participated.  We reviewed some creative concepts that clearly reflected hours and hours of preparation and serious thought by brilliant minds. While only two innovators ultimately win the award, there were so many other insightful solutions that we are confident many will do great things in the future. Thank you all for helping make this crowdsourcing project a success.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Joe Bous, who introduced me to HeroX and provided valuable insight into the vision of this project.  We would also like to thank all our supporters who in any way contributed to our community. Without you, we would not have had the innovator turnout that we did.

Warm regards,

Galvin Kennedy

Winning announcement timeline change

Aug. 9, 2019, 7:30 a.m. PDT by Despina Maliaka

Dear Innovators,


Thank you to all who have submitted a solution to the Walk on Water Challenge!

Your solution are currently going through the judging phase. The new date of the winning announcement is:


Monday, 12 August @ 3pm PT (Los Angeles)


We thank you for your patience!

One week left to submit!

June 14, 2019, 3 p.m. PDT by Despina Maliaka

Hello Innovators!

There's exactly one week left to submit your solution to the Walk on Water Challenge.

You're so close. You can do this, and I cannot wait to see your submissions!

Remember, the final submission deadline is June 21, 2019. 

No submissions received after this time will be accepted, so make sure to get yours in as soon as possible. Any last-minute questions or concerns can go right in the comments section of this update.


Walk on Water June 21 2019 Deadline!

June 7, 2019, 7:12 a.m. PDT by Galvin Kennedy

Hi Everyone, 


We have had an amazing response to the Walk on Water challenge so far.  We've also had nearly 5,000 people show interest in this project and about 130 innovators indicate they're going to submit a proposal.


Thanks to everyone who has already submitted their proposed solution to this challenge. We've had some really creative ideas influenced from all walks of life.  I'm already buying materials to run some tests on some of them.


My fellow judges and I are eager to see all the submissions.   Remember the deadline is around the corner on June 21, 2019. 


Thank you. 




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