Every morning, the beetle climbs to the top of a sand dune, faces away from the wind, and ensures that water condenses in hydrophilic areas of its back. Eventually, the water flows to a storage area in the beetle.
To mimic nature, Sorenson layered a surface with hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings, used a fan to pass air over the surface, and eventually managed to get water to condense. This eventually led to the design of a self-filling water bottle.
“We use nanotechnology to mimic this beetle’s back so that we too can pull water from the air,” Sorenson told PRI. “We see this being applicable to anything from marathon runners to people in third-world countries, because we realize that water is such a large issue in the world today, and we want to try to alleviate those problems with a cost-efficient solution. We are looking to incorporate this in greenhouses or green roofs in the immediate future, and then later on, we’re looking to see how far we can really scale this up to supply maybe farms or larger agricultural goals.”
The possibilities of something like this are endless. Considering that some women in Africa spend 60% of their day gathering water, this is a development which could change so many things for the better.