A Monumental Invention: Could Save Billions
Are you familiar with Dean Kamen? No? Well, perhaps you should be. He is an inventor, whose inventions have typically been in the area of robotics (he invented the Segway, the Luke robotic arm, and the F.I.R.S.T. robotics competition), but he has really created something that has the potential to alter life on this planet. He has created something called the Slingshot which is capable of filtering 97% of the Earth’s undrinkable water.
I must state that this device isn’t new, but rather something that he has been developing for 10 years and he has had working prototypes in Honduras in 2006.
The crux of the invention is the "vapor compression distiller" which sits between the tank of dirty liquid and the tank of clean drinking water. This device operates at low power and boils, distills, and vaporizes liquid water from the dirty mix, leaving behind impurities in the water. The device requires little maintenance.
The device produces 250 gallons a day, enough to support 100 people.
Of course there is a catch right? Well, there is at this point and it is the one you are most likely to suspect: cost. Currently the device costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but keep in mind that this is without any sort of mass production plan. Kamen states that he would like to get the cost down to around $2000 per device, and he is actively seeking humanitarian groups and individuals to become involved in bringing this device to those in need.
Why is this important? Currently, there are roughly 900 million people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. In terms of intellectual coherency, the idea passes muster. Water’s just as essential to life as food, which makes an appearance in Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As of now, the World Health Organization estimates that inadequate water is responsible for nearly one-tenth of the world’s disease burden, and that six percent of all deaths could be prevented by universal access to safe drinking water and better sanitation. According to the UN, 2.8 billion people won’t have enough water to meet their basic needs by 2025.