Galvin Kennedy

Walk on Water Challenge

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. 


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