The bowl can collect water from the air and save it in the bottle. Picture: Dewpal
A small bowl placed on a bottle can provide drinking water in dry areas. A team of researchers from the University of Gent are developing Dewpal, a 3D printed object designed specifically for condensing water from the atmosphere. In order to provide drinking water the researchers are working on an affordable tool for passively collecting water from the air.
The Belgian research project is still looking for funds and part of the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, also known as iGem, a competition which brings together teams from all over the world who have worked on projects involving synthetic biology. The Dewpal can be produced locally and therefore reach all the people that may need it.
Made from egg yolk
Dewpal is essentially a 3D printed structure that has been optimized, through its shape and synthetic biology, to collect and condense water from the atmosphere. Notably, the device’s structure itself was inspired by nature, specifically the fogstand beetle, whose domed shape helps it to collect water from the air to survive in the Namib desert. To make the small tool as effective as possible, the UGent team plans to 3D print the water condenser out of a biotin-containing filament. Biotin, for those unfamiliar, is a vitamin naturally found in egg yolk, liver, and yeast, which binds very strongly to the protein streptavidin.