Scientist Deckard Sorensen has created a self-filling water bottle inspired by the Namib Desert Beetle, which lives in an area so dry that it uses hydrophilic areas on its back to collect water from the air. Sorensen, who co-founded the company NBD, hopes to bring the product to market by 2014. It has the potential to help people who don’t have easy access to water. He told PRI:
We use nanotechnology to mimic this beetle’s back so that we too can pull water from the air. We see this being applicable to anything from marathon runners to people in third-world countries, because we realize that water is such a large issue in the world today, and we want to try to alleviate those problems with a cost-efficient solution.
The air contains more than three quadrillion gallons of water. To collect some of this, Sorensen coated a surface with hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings, and used a fan to pass air over the surface so water condensed on it. This technique requires little energy, with tests being powered by solar cells and a rechargeable battery.