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The LifeStraw Family water filter is being introduced in Kenya, where it should provide cl...

Given that approximately one sixth of the world's population lacks access to safe drinking water, it would obviously be a very good idea to create something that allows those people to easily and cheaply filter their local tainted water. That was the thinking behind the LifeStraw. Developed by European disease control firm Vestergaard Frandsen, the simple device allows individual users to drink directly out of unclean water bodies, without ingesting pathogens or other pollutants. Now, the larger-scale LifeStraw Family is being introduced in Kenya, where it could potentially save millions of lives, reduce air pollution, and pay for itself in the process.  Read More

Hydromax is a wearable hydration system designed for use in football

When you think of the hazards involved in playing American-style football, things like being slammed to the ground and buried under a stack of bulky opponents probably come to mind. One of the big dangers, however, is dehydration – this is particularly true for children, or athletes in southern states. While water is usually available at the sidelines, players may risk developing heat stroke before they have a chance to get to it. The Hydromax system is designed to keep that from happening, by supplying each player with their own wearable, armor-protected water supply.  Read More

The VelEau is a cyclist's hydration system, that mounts on the bike instead of the rider

As things currently stand, cyclists have two options for carrying drinking water on rides: bottles in frame-mounted cages, and hydration backpacks with sipping tubes. Bottles aren’t always that readily-accessible, however – not a big deal if you stop to drink, but more bothersome if you’re trying to drink on the fly, as happens in a race. Hydration backpacks, while much handier, can be uncomfortable. Showers Pass’ VelEau 42 is claimed to address both of these problems, by mounting a backpack-style hydration system on the bike instead of the rider.  Read More

The Solarball is a student-designed device that creates clean drinking water through evapo...

When he set out on a trip to Cambodia in 2008, Industrial Design student Jonathan Liow had no idea it was going to be a life-changing experience. Upon seeing the poverty and poor living conditions in that country, however, he decided that he wanted to build things that could help people. After hearing about the need for cheap and effective water purification in Africa, he proceeded to create the Solarball for his graduate project at Australia's Monash University. The ball is reportedly capable of producing 3 liters (about 3 quarts) of drinkable water per day, using nothing but polluted water and sunlight.  Read More

The Ferrator is a device that produces ferrate, a type of iron particle, to treat waste- a...

Ferrate is a type of supercharged iron particle, in which iron is in the plus 6 oxidation state – it’s also known as Iron (VI). That might not interest you, but perhaps this will: it can be used as an environmentally-friendly disinfectant in water treatment applications, reportedly outperforming stand-bys such as ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine. So, why isn’t it in common use? Unfortunately, it’s proven too expensive to produce, package and transport. Ferrate Treatment Technologies (FTT), however, claims to have addressed that limitation with its product, the Ferrator.  Read More

Be HeadCase is a bottle opener-equipped iPhone case, that comes with an app that keeps cou...

A couple of years ago, the folks over at b3ta.com invited members of their online community to submit mocked-up images of “Unlikely iPhone Apps.” Some of the submissions were quite a hoot, such as the Paperweight app – just activate it on your iPhone, then set the phone down on top of a stack of papers. Even the guerrilla graphic artists at b3ta, however, couldn’t have foreseen Be a HeadCase. The product combines a bottle opener-equipped iPhone case with a free app that keeps count of how many bottles or cans you’ve opened, while announcing to the world that you’re opening yet another.  Read More

Students Chin Jung Cheng, Charlie Matlack, Penny Huang and Jacqueline Linnes designed a wa...

The worldwide shortage of clean drinking water is a serious problem, although in many cases there’s a relatively simple solution – just leave the tainted water outside in clear plastic bottles, and let the sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays purify it. This approach is known as SODIS (SOlar DISinfection of water in plastic bottles), and it removes 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses – results similar to those obtained by chlorine. Unfortunately, however, there’s been no reliable way of knowing when the water has reached a safe level of purity. Now, four engineering students from the University of Washington have created a simple, inexpensive device that does just that... and they won US$40,000 in the process.  Read More

The 'tea bag' in place near the mouth of the special water bottle

Stellenbosch University's Hope Project has produced a disposable water filter shaped like a tea bag. When placed in the neck of a water bottle, the bag removes all harmful chemicals and microbes. Each bag cleans one liter (1.06 quarts) of water, so a lot will be needed to make any significant impact on water-related health issues globally. However, when compared to competition such as the LifeStraw or LifeSaver, it would seem to be a cost effective solution. The product is currently being tested by the South Africa Bureau of Standards.  Read More

Paper strips used in toxin detection with progressively increasing number of coatings with...

Engineers at the University of Michigan have developed a strip of paper infused with carbon nanotubes that can quickly and inexpensively detect a toxin produced by algae in drinking water. The paper strips perform 28 times faster than the complicated method most commonly used today to detect microcystin-LR, a chemical compound produced by the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) commonly found on nutrient-rich waters. Microcystin-LR is among the leading causes of biological water pollution and is believed to be the culprit of many mass poisonings going back to early human history.  Read More

The set of six granite Sippin' Rocks housed in their wooden box

If you order your drinks “on the rocks” and are in the habit of chewing on the ice cubes you might want to double check that the bartender hasn’t taken you literally and chilled your drink with “Sippin’ Rocks” – unless you fancy a visit to the dentist. Sippin' Rocks are highly-polished cubes of granite that are designed to chill your drink without diluting it.  Read More

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