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Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, has invented a water purification system called the Slingshot, which he claims can purify 97 percent of the Earth's undrinkable water. Mr. Kamen is pictured here drinking a glass of Slingshot-produced water.  (Source: CNN)

The device operates at low power and requires little maintenance. Mr. Kamen is aiming to sell the devices for $2,000 to aid organizations.  (Source: CNN)
Thirsty? Just grab a Slingshot, says Dean Kamen

Obtaining clean drinking water remains a very serious problem for people in many parts of the world.  Scientists have been hard at work trying to invent solutions to make water purification cheaper and incorporate renewable energy sources for power in remote regions.  Now, one famous inventor has cooked what he claims to be the most revolutionary water purification system to date.

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, the Luke robotic arm, and founder of the F.I.R.S.T. robotics competition warns, "In your lifetime, my lifetime, we will see water be a really scarce, valuable commodity."

Looking to solve this problem, Mr. Kamen and his associates at DEKA Research in Manchester, New Hampshire have invented a new type of water purifier called the Slingshot, which he claims can purify 97 percent of the world's undrinkable water.

The device took him over 10 years to develop and can transform even sewage into clean drinking water.  The crux of the invention is the "vapor compression distiller" which sits between the tank of dirty liquid and the tank of clean drinking water.  This device operates at low power and boils, distills, and vaporizes liquid water from the dirty mix, leaving behind impurities in the water.  The device requires little maintenance.

The device produces 250 gallons a day, enough to support 100 people.  Mr. Kamen boasts, "It is literally like turning lead into gold.  But I believe it's more important, because you can't drink lead or gold."

The device has already been field tested in the village of Lerida in Honduras in 2006.  Two of the devices were placed in the village, and everything went perfectly, without a hitch. 

Next up, Mr. Kamen envisions mass deployment.  Currently, a Slingshot costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.  However, Mr. Kamen is looking for partners to mass produce the device.  He hopes to reduce the cost to about $2,000 a unit, and to enlist humanitarian groups to start buying the devices for regions in need.  He states, "The biggest challenge right now between this being a dream and a reality is getting committed people that really care about the state of the world's health to get involved."

Currently about 900 million of the world's 7 billion people don't have access to clean drinking water.  This leads to over 3.5 million deaths a year from water-related diseases.



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RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By scrapsma54 on 9/14/2009 11:23:35 AM , Rating: 2
Do you have any clue what happens in war torn countries like Africa? The warlords poison wells so they starve the villages until they buy their water. The same thing happened in Afghanistan a couple weeks ago in a village I visited. People are assholes when the don't get their way.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Yawgm0th on 9/14/2009 11:44:56 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Do you have any clue what happens in war torn countries like Africa?
What a horrible country Africa must be...


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Misty Dingos on 9/14/2009 12:18:53 PM , Rating: 4
Africa is a wonderful place. But Africa is not a country but even bigger it is a CONTINENT!

Continents are big places that have (sometimes) many countries in them.

But back to this strife issue and war-torn comment. It is people that are the problem. Just get rid of all these people and the planet would be much better and happier.

A select number of people should move to the moon and live there. We have proven to be horrible stewards of the Gaia and don't deserve to live here.

So we should exile ourselves to the moon and let Gaia heal herself away from our horrific influence!

There is your happy thought for the day.

Did it have anything to do with the subject at hand? No.
Did it add anything to the discussion? No. But neither do most of the comments here at DT.

Now I am going to go check this contraption out. If it can remove arsenic from the water and doesn't require a PHD to operate maybe it will help a lot of people out. Unlike my post today.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By rrburton on 9/14/2009 12:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By quiksilvr on 9/14/2009 8:21:10 PM , Rating: 1
Wow. This is the first organization that makes me GLAD the members aren't breeding.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By messyunkempt on 9/14/2009 1:52:05 PM , Rating: 5
Is it just me that assosciates the word 'gaia' with 'people that dont wash?'


By The Irish Patient on 9/14/2009 8:16:12 PM , Rating: 3
Wash, maybe. But shave? Never.


By jimbojimbo on 9/14/2009 2:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
He was being sarcastic and making fun of the previous post. You see "Country" and "Africay" right?


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By SPOOFE on 9/14/2009 6:35:17 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
So we should exile ourselves to the moon and let Gaia heal herself away from our horrific influence!

How do you know we didn't exile ourselves here away from the Moon? Look what happened to the Moon since we've left. What an awful place it turned into.

No, I think Gaia is just fine with us making our tiny pinpricks and splashing our little chemicals and detonating our itty-bitty widdle firecrackers on her crust. The rest of her will remain happy and content ten miles beneath the surface.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By danrien on 9/14/2009 9:30:17 PM , Rating: 1
aye. besides, if it's not us abusing earth's resources, it's going to be some other creature (evolution doesn't allow for things to just "balance out").


By AstroGuardian on 9/16/2009 3:48:21 AM , Rating: 1
I like your thoughts. But bear in mind this;
1. People are not the problem with wars. It's roles. You can move people even to Venus if you like but someone else will get their role here. A role like trouble making countries which took away something from friendly countries etc. and now they are at war to guard what have stolen. So entire countries should disappear and the world will be a better place.

2. Don't you think Gaia is on the Moon too?


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By wishmaster2020 on 9/14/2009 12:10:46 PM , Rating: 4
the problem with putting this thing in war-torn African countries for example, is that if we place these there, what's gonna keep war-lords from stealing these things and forcing the people to submit to their demands before they can access them? In the end, if the people of those countries don't have the will or determination to govern and free themselves without the assistance of 3rd parties - then they'll never be free. Countries like the US and others that won their independence from superior forces and nations had the will and determination to stand up to their oppressors and fight back and win.

If the populations of these countries amassed and fought back against the war-lords whom seem to be more determined to hold them in servitude they'd win or at least put up a good enough fight for future generations to gain their freedom... to what end? Who knows... and if they won their freedom, who is to say that they wouldn't eventually become just like their oppressors...

In the end, mankind's biggest enemy is himself, and his own greed. It seems that in creating abundance it would only create those who would desire to control it and force others into submitting to their will to use it.

Anyway, these all-in-one distillers are pretty awesome, you could probably slap a batter and solar panel to it and viola! Self sustaining water source! I'm just saying they might not stop war-lords from starving and dehydrating people.... but they could help...


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By MastermindX on 9/14/2009 1:09:24 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
In the end, if the people of those countries don't have the will or determination to govern and free themselves without the assistance of 3rd parties - then they'll never be free. Countries like the US and others that won their independence from superior forces and nations had the will and determination to stand up to their oppressors and fight back and win.


The problem here is not as much determination as capacity.

You compare this to the US independence, but there is something you are forgetting here. Firepower. The "firepower" of an unequiped civilian is much lesser nowaday compared to an equiped and trained soldier than it was 1 or 2 hundred years ago. Back then, I guess 4 unarmed civilians or so could have taken out 1 soldier... but with the advent of automatic weapon, ratio gets closer to 50:1, or more. Nowaday, I doubt any population could free itself from a tyrany without outside help... Not even the mighty (or is it fatty nowaday?) americans.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Ammohunt on 9/14/2009 2:26:30 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with Africa and other peoples of the world for that matter isn't firepower based its cultural.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By rcc on 9/14/2009 5:53:00 PM , Rating: 5
Which is why people should *never* let themselves become "unequipped civilians".

"Gun Control", another option on the slavery list. Not that I'm against all forms of gun control, just the extremist views.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By mindless1 on 9/15/2009 4:13:53 AM , Rating: 3
Then we send then automatic weapons instead of water purifiers. It makes perfect sense, IF the problem is defending existing water instead of lack of existing clean water.

The real problem is we tolerate governments that look the other way.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By OrSin on 9/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By bodar on 9/14/2009 3:41:08 PM , Rating: 2
"Mr. OrSin, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Spuke on 9/14/2009 7:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Usually i stay out of this crap, but How did countries like US win there independence. First the natives of this country got slaughter and killed off.
The natives were not helpless. There were some slaughters, don't get me wrong, but the natives put up a hell of a fight (and did their own slaughtering I might add). The Brits ran the show and the colonists gained their independence from them. Look it up, this is not secret information.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Parhel on 9/14/2009 11:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. Both sides would roll over in their collective graves if they heard people today calling them 'helpless.'

If it hadn't been for the diseases brought over to the new world by European colonists, however, history may have played out quite differently. The vast majority of the natives of North and South America were killed by Smallpox, not colonists.

In fact, diseases travelled even faster than the colonists did. I believe it was Lewis and Clark who recorded seeing whole cities along the Mississippi, completely emptied by disease.


By AstroGuardian on 9/16/2009 3:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? US won it's independence from superior forces? What forces? The Indians (Native Americans)? The Klingons? Martians?


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Jeffk464 on 9/14/2009 3:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Thats why we should stay the heck out of Africa and enjoy our nice clean municipal water. For the truly nervous just get a brita or pur filter.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By Zoomer on 9/16/2009 6:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
Brita or pur filters CANNOT be used to disinfect water. They are simply not rated to do so. These filters just remove some other contaminants, and perhaps add some impurities to improve the perceived taste of water.


RE: Lets assume its not vaporware
By drycrust on 9/14/2009 4:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
Sad, but true.

One of the interesting facts of history is that in the whole of the 20th Century only one democratic country had a famine, and that was Zimbabwe. The point being that if a government can see it will be held accountable for unnecessary loss of life, e.g. famine, then there won't be unnecessary loss of life; and if it isn't obvious to the government that it will be held accountable then often it won't do enough to avoid it.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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