It's a dog dish. It's a boat bailer. It's a drinking cup.
What is this versatile invention? It's the UBCup, brainchild of Wayne Kieler, a UBC Campus Security officer.
After four years of research and development, Kieler now has a Canadian and American patent for his folding plastic cup.
It all started after Kieler witnessed a young man in a wheelchair using his hands to get water from a standard drinking fountain. Soon after he saw some children lying precariously on a log bridge to scoop creek water with their hands.
"Those incidents just stuck in my mind," says Kieler. "It didn't seem right that there wasn't a safe, easy way to get water."
Kieler says he just started " horsing around with a piece of paper" and after what he describes as 10,000 mistakes developed the cup.
Shaped like an inverted pyramid, the cup is different from others on the market, says Kieler, because it weighs less, is cheaper to produce and has an elasticized band that attaches to the wrist so the cup can't be dropped. The final product will be made of clear plastic that allows the drinker to check the water quality before gulping down a drink.
Kieler, who works in the Museum of Anthropology, showed the prototype to MOA director Ruth Phillips. She suggested it could be modified into a dog dish to get water from drinking fountains in public parks.
An outdoorsman himself, Kieler says the cup is perfect for hikers, fishers and joggers because it is light and compact.
Larger, sturdier versions of the cup can serve as kayak or boat bailers and dry pet food scoops.
It will be marketed with a holster so it can be stored and re-used. A disposable version for car trips, picnics or other outings is also planned.
The UBCup is Kieler's first invention.
"This has overwhelmed me," says Kieler of his success. "The day the patent was issued, I was just walking around in a fog."
Kieler is looking for a Canadian manufacturer for the item and expects it will cost less than $1 to produce.
A retired RCMP officer, Kieler hopes the profits from the UBCup will augment his pension when he retires from UBC after 14 years of service next January.
Kieler plans to donate a portion of the profits to the MOA. A big fan of the museum, he says working there has been "a breath of fresh air" for him and credits the faculty and staff with giving him a lot of support as he developed the UBCup.