Namib Desert beetle inspires self-filling water bottle

A US start-up has turned to nature to help bring water to arid areas by drawing moisture from the air. NBD Nano aims to mimic the way a beetle survives in an African desert to create a self-filling water bottle capable of storing up to three litres every hour.The insect harvests moisture from the air by first getting it to condense on its back and then storing the water.

Using nature as an inspiration for technology, known as biomimicry, is increasingly widespread. NBD Nano, which consists of four recent university graduates and was formed in May, looked at the Namib Desert beetle that lives in a region that gets about half an inch of rainfall per year. Using a similar approach, the firm wants to cover the surface of a bottle with hydrophilic (water-attracting) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) materials.

The work is still in its early stages, but it is the latest example of researchers looking at nature to find inspiration for sustainable technology. “It was important to apply [biomimicry] to our design and we have developed a proof of concept and [are] currently creating our first fully-functional prototype,” Miguel Galvez, a co-founder, told the BBC. “We think our initial prototype will collect anywhere from half a litre of water to three litres per hour, depending on local environments.” Via Namib Desert beetle inspires self-filling water bottle.

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