The best of 2014

Water

Water Balance offers a visual reminder to feed your houseplants, by visibly showing how mu...

Most of us, at one time or another, have forgotten to water houseplants or flowers sitting in a vase in our homes. It's very easy to do, particularly if you have a busy lifestyle and one too many chores to do each day. If only housebound flowers and plants had a way of communicating with us their need for a drink ... Now they do, thanks to Water Balance.  Read More

New water-purifying synthetic nanoscavengers can be removed from water magnetically (Photo...

According to a joint World Health Organization/UNICEF report issued this week, an estimated 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources in 2011, with 185 million of these relying on surface water to meet their daily drinking-water needs. WHO and UNICEF have set a 2030 target for everyone to have access to a safe drinking-water supply and new water-purifying “nanoscavengers” developed by researchers at Stanford University could help achieve this goal.  Read More

The NDūR Survival Straw filters out nasties from dirty water as you drink

Most of us take water for granted. If we want a drink, we turn a tap or twist a cap and there it is. But if you find yourself off the beaten track in triple-digit heat without it, locating some can mean the difference between life and death. Finding a pool of water in the shade of a rock may seem like a godsend, but then the question of waterborne diseases raises its head. That’s where the NDūR Survival Straw comes in.  Read More

The Jerrycan offers 18.5 liters (4.9 gallons) of water-purifying and carrying capacity

The LIFESAVER Jerrycan is a large water purification jug that could be of great use to everyone from campers to inhabitants of remote villages. The Jerrycan incorporates a built-in filtration system which can purify 18.5 liters (4.9 gallons) of water at a time, along with an integrated shower attachment that lets you use the water for cleaning as well as drinking.  Read More

A prototype water heater system that uses cold water to make hot water pictured with Slate...

Apart from heating and cooling the house, water heating is one of the biggest energy drains in the average home. But what if you could literally use cold water to create hot water? That’s just what San Diego inventor Hal Slater claims to have done with the creation of a water heater system that promises to improve water heating efficiency by as much as 50 to 100 percent.  Read More

The University of Engineering and Technology and MAYO-DRAFT FCB have constructed an advert...

The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, Peru has partnered with advertising agency MAYO-DRAFT FCB to create an advertising billboard that grabs moisture from the desert air and converts it into filtered drinking water.  Read More

Samsung has partnered with SodaStream to introduce the RF31FMESBSR Four-Door Refrigerator,...

Refrigerators have gotten some handy upgrades in recent years, with everything from Wi-Fi enabled touchscreens to blast chillers for quickly cooling a beer. Now, Samsung has partnered with SodaStream to introduce the RF31FMESBSR Four-Door Refrigerator, which comes with a built-in sparkling water dispenser for making homemade soda.  Read More

PureMadi project leaders James Smith and Dr. Rebecca Dillingham

Silver is known for its antibacterial qualities, and has thus found its way into water filters created at institutions such as Stanford and McGill universities. Given that these filters are often used in developing nations, however, it would be nice if they could also contribute to the local economy – instead of being just one more thing that’s brought in from outside. Well, that’s just the idea behind the University of Virginia’s PureMadi filters and MadiDrops.  Read More

Eindhoven University of Technology’s Dr. Catarina Esteves, with a piece of the fog-harvest...

In arid places where fog occurs overnight, some people utilize so-called “fog harvesters” to acquire fresh water. These are typically pieces of netting that collect fog droplets, which then roll down into a container below. Various researchers have tried to increase the efficiency of these harvesters, such as by making them from a combination of hydrophilic (water-absorbing) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) materials. Now, a team of scientists have done something a little different – they’ve created a cotton-based fog-harvesting material that switches between being entirely hydrophilic and entirely hydrophobic.  Read More

Scientists have discovered that graphene oxide flakes are very effective at removing radio...

Removing radioactive material from contaminated water, such as that in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plants, could be getting a little easier. Scientists from Houston’s Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have discovered that when flakes of graphene oxide are added to such water, it causes the radionuclides to condense into clumps. Those clumps can then be separated and disposed of.  Read More

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