Mesh being tested for use on fog-harvesting devices by Shreerang Chhatre and colleagues at MIT (Photo: Patrick Gillooly)
For years, people living in high-altitude or coastal arid countries have been collecting drinking water by harvesting fog. More specifically, they've mounted pieces of fine netting over top of containers, left the setup overnight, then collected the fog droplets that got caught in the net and rolled down its fibers into the container. While it might sound like a rather insubstantial way of acquiring water, under the right conditions it can yield a surprisingly large amount of liquid. Now, inspired by the Namib Beetle, a chemical engineering graduate student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is looking to improve on the technique.