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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: To be blunt.
By Yawgm0th on 9/14/2009 11:50:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Already have severe food shortages
No, we don't. We, as a species, have the ability to provide food for everyone, globally. But economic and political problems prevent that from being a reality.

Similarly, abundant, clean, drinkable water needn't be a problem for centuries, but spending the money and resources to make it happen on a global scale just isn't feasible right now -- but this could be the first of many steps.


RE: To be blunt.
By Jeffk464 on 9/14/2009 8:29:54 PM , Rating: 2
Not really true, we have the money but not the means to disperse it. Remember Somalia, the reason we sent troops over their was because the war lords were taking the food aid away from the starving people so they could sell it for a profit. I think this has been a pretty common trend for our food aid. Unless you want to get in and help govern africa(I don't) your best off staying the heck out of there. The western world seems to have reached the same conclusion I have, so I feel vindicated.


RE: To be blunt.
By Jeffk464 on 9/14/2009 8:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to also be blunt but the more you aid them the more their population grows and they can't support their current population level. What do you think the end result will be, and even larger famine. If you provide food and water you need to get in their and provide family planning and general education, at least to a basic level.


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