The need for potable water in places far off the grid is a very real one - whether for disaster relief, humanitarian efforts in areas hit by drought, or even just backcountry expeditions for science or pleasure. And while quite a few solutions exist for pumping and filtering dirty groundwater, another possible way to provide clean drinking water is through harvesting and cleaning rainwater, and a prototype for a new device to do exactly that is in the works.
The Noro Rainwater Catchment and Filtration System began as a design for a rainwater filtration system for residences in downtown Vancouver that could be built from salvaged local material, but rapidly morphed into a design meant to be highly portable and easily deployed. The prototype was built using off-the-shelf components from Home Depot, and takes the form of a backpack-mounted system which can be used as either a standalone unit or in conjunction with existing rainwater catchment systems.
The team behind this ingenious device entered the Noro into Simon Fraser University's Interactive Arts & Technology project showcase this spring, and took first place in the Prototyping category. The device also garnered third place in the project showcase at Touch Point 2012: Interaction Design Symposium.
The Noro system is now undergoing another iteration, which includes further reducing the size of the unit for greater portability, as well as integrating catchment systems for surface water, fog, and snow.