From fog dew collectors to billboards that harvest rain, the unfolding global water crisis has translated into innovative ideas for conserving water -- or finding clean water in unexpected places, such as human armpits. Partnering with UNICEF and Swedish advertising agency Deportivo, a team of engineers led by designer Andreas Hammar have created a contraption that actually converts human sweat into clean, distilled drinking water.
Based on NASA technology that turns astronauts' sweat and urine into drinking water, the team built a drying machine that features high-tech filters that purifies any liquid inputs. In the hopes of highlighting the challenges of accessing clean water in Africa and Asia, the machine was recently debuted at Sweden's Gothia Cup tournament last month, where there was a bonanza of sweaty jerseys to use.
Sweat-soaked clothes are tossed into a compartment which spins and squeezes out all perspiration, which is then heated, treated with ultraviolet light and filtered to remove any salt, bacteria and stray textile bits -- and voila, tasty drinking water!
Trial runs reveal that it takes a full load of sweaty clothes to produce one pint of water -- which is not a lot but at least shows that there are possibilities of harvesting water with one's smelly laundry. According to some of the hundreds of tasters who have taken the plunge, the transmuted sweat apparently has a sweet "perfume-y" taste. Yum.
Of course, it's hard to say whether this intriguing machine will make a large enough dent in the planet's water woes, but nevertheless, it's a good try and certainly raises much-needed awareness about the issue. More over at Discovery News.