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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 MastermindX on 9/14/2009 1:09:24 PM , Rating: 4
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.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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