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Designing a Water Bottle That Refills Itself

Population growth coupled with increased urbanization has many warning of a looming water crisis. But the startup NDBnano claims it’s developed what could be a small part of the solution: self-filling water bottles.

For inspiration, the company turned to the Namib desert beetle, which is capable of capturing water droplets from fog on its bumpy outer shell to drink 12 percent of its body weight in water each morning. Mimicking the beetle’s back, the self-filling bottle would work by extracting water from a breeze artificially created by a fan.

Skeptics aren’t sure NDBnano can create sufficient circulation to bring in enough moisture-laden air to convert to water. But if the company pulls it off, the applications could reach beyond well water bottles—including the huge water need for power plants.