A Water Bottle That Can Fill Itself Up

Scientist Deckard Sorensen used nanotechnology to create a vessel that mimics the water collection and storage capabilities of the Namib desert beetle.

What's the Latest Development?


Deckard Sorensen, a scientist and co-founder of NBD Nano, has created a prototype of a bottle that fills itself up by collecting water from the surrounding atmosphere. The water comes when air from a fan passes over a surface layered with nanoscale water-attracting and water-repelling coatings. Until now all tests have been done with solar cells and a rechargeable battery, but even that might not be necessary in order for the technology to work: Anything that moves fast enough to create an airflow -- "a car or a boat, or even a running human" -- could cause water to condense on the surface.

What's the Big Idea?

Sorensen got the idea from observing the Namib desert beetle, which lives in a habitat that receives less than half an inch of water a year. To get its water, the beetle climbs to the top of a dune and turns its back, which contains water-attracting areas, to the wind. In addition to providing water to people in need, the technology could be used in a variety of applications, according to Sorensen: Greenhouses and green roofs could enhance their water-drawing abilities, and large ships could generate their own drinking water supply. In the meantime, he hopes to bring the water bottle to the public by 2014.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The minimum wage debate rages on
  • The same study authors in 2017 famously argued that raising the wage to $15/hr. in Seattle and Tacoma actually cost jobs
  • This study says something else, though study authors are quick to say they don't necessarily contradict each other. Ummm ...
Keep reading Show less

Take the Big Think survey for a chance to win :)

Calling all big thinkers!

  • Tell us a little bit about where you find Big Think's videos, articles, and podcasts.
  • Be entered for a chance to win 1 of 3 Amazon gift cards each worth $100.
  • All survey information is anonymous and will be used only for this survey.
Keep reading Show less

White House slams socialism in new report

The 72-page report makes a case against modern policy proposals like "Medicare for All" and free college tuition.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The report comes from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which is run by professional economists.
  • It attempts to make direct connections between modern-day progressives and past socialist figures like Stalin and Mao.
  • The report comes in the wake of other explicitly anti-socialist sentiments expressed by the Trump administration.
Keep reading Show less