Competition to design a hydrophilic, self-filling water-bottle

A Slashdot post from Samzenpus rounds up links to a series of projects to make self-filling water-bottles inspired by the hydrophilic nodules on the Namib Desert Beetle. After a successful prototype, MIT has launched a competition to improve on the design.

Water Bottle Fills Itself From the Air


    1.  I can’t believe it took 5 hours for the first Dune comment to appear. The Boing Boing Comment Mob is clearly on vacation.

  1. A measly $2500 prize for a competition that expects you to have skills in Materials Engineering, Product Design, Electrical Engineering, Marketing and CAD?  Not to mention they get to use *everybody’s* product’s ideas, not just the most presentable ones. 

    All materials used must be 100% recyclable (Materials Engineering)Using the metric of 3L/m^2/hr of water at 70% RH, the proposed device must be able to produce a minimum of 1/2 L per hour (Product Design)The device must operate using less than 100W of power (Electrical Engineering)Prizes to be awarded based on the creativity, feasibility, and overall potential market size of the submission (Marketing)Models can be done in any CAD software as long as a STEP or IGES files are also uploaded. Any entry that does not include STEP or IGES file, will be considered ineligible for the contest. (CAD) 

    1. While that does seem low for a prize amount, there are probably some significant economic rewards beyond the seed prize money in line for the winners.

      There’s also the whole “saving the world” thing. I bet one could get laid for having that on their bio. And get free drinks for life.

      Yeah, the more I think about it, I’d expect someone with a really innovative improvement to patent before disclosing their design to the contest.

      1.  A percentage based award for the winner seems appropriate.  The winning designer could participate in the ‘saving the world’ thing, if that is indeed what the contest designers intend, or the get a piece of the windfall of profits if that’s the path they take.

        1. But what profits? Does the MIT competition imply anywhere that their plan is to market this for $$$$, or are they going to make the plans open source and allow entrepreneurs in any water-lacking country to build them themselves?

    2. On top of that, the metric is a little daunting: if the area is arid, say less than 25% RH, it’ll be much less efficient at collecting water – probably so much so that water sticking to the hydrophilic areas will probably evaporate before it’s collected.

      The winning device will probably work really well in humid areas (where other means can/do work much more efficiently – say nets to collect fog in mountainous areas or inverse osmosis water filters if you’re on the sea).

      /This “We own any submitted entry” has always kept me out of contests…

  2. One of the slashdot commenters pointed out that the Irish have a similar device that magically gathers water directly from the air and concentrates it in a bottle for later use.  They call it a “funnel”.  Doesn’t work in deserts, but great in the UK.

  3. If I possessed this bottle, I would be very, very, careful about demonstrating it in certain hip neighbourhoods in Portland, Oregon, which is just up the road from me, especially when I drive real fast. 

    Demonstrating this vessel in these certain hip neighbourhoods would risk being burnt at the stake by groups of ironic puritans.   


      but i am attempting to be highly irony-resistant your mileage may vary

      Edit: Thank you cdh1971 & Antinous!

        1. They’re monks.  I had the men’s version in both black and brown from Bass(?)  Now I have Kenneth Cole double monks in black.

  4. “MIT has launched a competition to improve on the design.”

    Really? From what I can tell, one of the founders is a grad student at MIT; otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be any connection with MIT at all.

  5. I think the challenge, for human consumption, will be keeping it contaminant free.  Still, an interesting technology.

    If I were to put my bet on feasible future applications, I bet drip agriculture or a gmo plant which has these built into its leaves.

  6. Ideal tech for putting into de-humidifiers… would only need a fan to pull the air through the device and no longer require the compressors and heat exchange plates to make the cold plate for the vapour to freeze on like they currently do…

Comments are closed.