Inspired by a beetle found in the deserts of Africa, scientists have designed a water bottle that fills itself.
Developed by Deckard Sorensen of startup NBD Nano, the self-filling bottle collects air from the surrounding atmosphere using an attached fan. While tests of a prototype bottle have all been carried out using solar cells and a rechargeable battery, the company believes the device could produce water using anything fast enough to create airflow, be it a car or a jogging human.
To design their bottle, the scientists looked towards the Namib desert beetle, an African insect that captures and then stores moisture from the air by condensing it on its back. The water-harnessing process allows the bug to survive in a region that only gets about half an inch of rainfall per year.
Using the beetle as its muse, the group covered the surface of a bottle with both water-attracting and water-repelling materials. The scientists also used a fan to ensure that the surrounding air would pass over the bottle’s surface. Much like the process seen in the tiny insect, the water then condenses and is stored inside the bottle.
The group is hoping to get the bottles on the market by 2014.
Image: Steven Depolo/Flickr