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Coke partners with Segway-inventor on a water purifier

Posting in Design

water purification from deka.png
Coca-Cola has faced plenty of criticism over its bottled water business, and it’s been accused of creating water shortages in India because it uses so much to make its soft drinks.

But just last week, the company pledged to provide safe drinking water to 20 countries by the end of 2015. One of the ways Coke plans to do so is combine its know-how with Segway’s futurism. Businessweek reports.

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, has actually worked with the drinking company before. His design group DEKA Research and Development created the Freestyle, Coke’s touch-screen soda fountain.

Now Kamen has Coke’s backing for a water purification technology, the Slingshot (pictured):

  • The vapor-compression machine basically boils and condenses any kind of dirty water.
  • It can produce about 30 liters of water an hour using as much energy as a hair dryer.
  • It’s about the size of a hotel mini-bar and weighs 300 pounds.
  • The power source doesn’t have to be electric. It can run on solar power, batteries, and even methane from animal dung.

But, it took several hundred thousand dollars to make one.

Kamen didn’t have the infrastructure to manufacture and distribute the boxes cost-effectively. That’s where Coke comes in. It knows how to do those things with sometimes frightening efficiency. And just think what the soft-drink juggernaut knows about marketing.

They hope to bring Slingshot to communities in rural parts of Latin America and Africa.

In addition to DEKA R&D, Coke is also partnering with IBM, Inter-American Development Bank, McCann Health, NRG Energy, Qualcomm Technologies, and UPS. IThe global collaboration will also be utilizing EKOCENTERs [video]. These “downtowns in a box” offer a locally tailored mix of products, services, and resources such as safe drinking water, wireless communications, and refrigerated vaccination storage.

[Businessweek]

Images: Slingshot (top) by Deka / schematic (below) via Coca-Cola

a schematic of the slingshot.jpeg

— By on September 30, 2013, 1:35 PM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure