Imagine travelling through a hot and humid location with water rations running low. It can seem like a nightmare situation to try and find a place – river, stream, house, well – quickly where one can restock. In such a scenario it would seem like a miracle if one could conjure water out of thin air. Kristof Retezár, a designer based in Vienna has designed a device which can do exactly this! Retezár has created a device called Fontus which works on the principle of condensation by extracting humidity from the air and condensing it into drinkable water. Retezár told Live Science,
This is simply condensation of the humidity that is contained in the air. You always have a certain percentage of humidity in the air, it doesn’t matter where you are — even in the desert. That means you would always potentially be able to extract that humidity from the air.”
Fontus can be strapped onto a bicycle so that it can generate water out of humidity over long distances. The gadget consists of a condensator (which functions like a cooler) that is connected to a series of hydrophobic surfaces that repel water. As the bike-mounted gadget takes in air, and these surfaces get cold, you’re left with condensation, Retezár explains.
With this simple gadget one can ensure a steady supply of clean drinkable water as long there is humidity in reasonably clean air making it a potential solution for the water scarcity problems plaguing a huge portion of the planet. Even though his device has been created for nature travels, Retezár is also thinking of creating a bottle with a carbon filter which can be used in cities like Delhi, Shanghai and Mumbai where the level of air pollution is quite high. He says,
The idea was to solve a global problem: water issues in areas of the world where there is very little groundwater but very high humidity. My intent was to invent a machine or device that would be able to filter the humidity in the air and turn it into drinkable water.”
Fontus can produce 0.5 quarts (0.5 liters) of water in 1 hour in what is considered “really good” conditions, with temperatures between 86 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 40 degrees Celsius) and between 80 percent and 90 percent humidity. Retezár is offering two versions: stand-alone Fontus Airo (available for an early-bird price of $200, plus the cost of shipping) and the Fontus Ryde (available for the early-bird price of $165, plus shipping), which can be attached to a bicycle with estimated delivery in April 2017.