Where do you get your water?
If you’re reading this, chances are you get yours from one of your several taps or you buy bottles and/or jugs of it.
But for almost a billion people on this planet, water is a scarce resource.
Everybody needs water to live, and it’s not like we can just make more of it.
But there’s a beetle in Africa’s Namib Desert that might hold some inspiration for all of us, if we’re looking to make the most of what we have:
It’s an incredibly efficient system:
As the fog rolls through every morning, the Namib beetle aligns itself and its shell so that it can collect the moisture.
Bumps on the shell grab that moisture, and then gravity leads the droplets to a channel along their back and straight into their mouths.
Humans have been taking notice, and scientists think the Namib Desert Beetle is a prime target for biomimicry. Biomimicry is when humans see something cool that other species are doing, and then we see if we can find a way to pull it off, too.
Here’s a list of some of the ways scientists and entrepreneurs are thinking about using the technology that might come from mimicking the beetle:
- Tent and roof coverings that collect water.
- Self-filling water bottles that collect up to three litres an hour in the desert.
- A silica nanoparticle coating that mimics the surface of the beetle’s wings to form a thin, uniform coating of water that prevents fogging and/or dust collection on things like car windshields, bathroom mirrors, or solar panels. Plus, it could also be used to harvest water in desert conditions.
Of course, nothing I’ve described is as cool as actually seeing this happen. So be sure to check the process out in the video below at about the 1 minute mark:
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