22-year-old Jawwad Patel, an engineering student from Hyderabad, India, has developed a 3D printed self-filling water device that can turn humid air into around 1.8 liters of water in just one hour. Patel has been working on various inventions and electronics since the age of 10.
3D printers are impressive things. In just a few hours, they can make incredible, intricately designed objects out of nothing more than a coil of plastic, a tray of liquid resin, or a bed of powdered metal. However, it’s beyond even a 3D printer to make something out of thin air. That task has seemingly been left to the “Dewdrop,” a 3D printed device developed and built by engineering student Jawwad Patel that is capable of producing drinkable water using only air from the atmosphere. It’s quick, too: in humid conditions, the device can produce nearly two liters of water in an hour, and can still squeeze out about 1.2 liters in dryer climes.
The 3D printed Dewdrop sounds like magic, but in fact simply harnesses the power of condensation. A system of electric fans within the 3D printed Dewdrop device serves to cool air below its dew point, turning it into water vapor which then collects in a vessel below the contraption. The gadget is even able to filter out foreign materials such as dust with a UV filter, separating the unwanted stuff from the mineralized mater. The 3D printed water-making device requires a 12-volt connection and electric current of 6000 mAh. While it is currently powered by batteries, it could also make use of solar energy through solar panels.
The 3D printed Dewdrop, which is essentially a compact atmospheric water generator (AWG), has the potential to serve various important uses, such as generating essential drinking water in areas of drought, and even has a hot/cold option, making it ideal for those in cold climates or for those who simply love coffee or tea. The 3D printed device is not Patel’s first invention, with the engineering student previously developing a “smart helmet” for motorcyclists that prevents the rider from starting his or her engine if they are over the alcohol limit, and which automatically alerts the emergency services in the event of an accident.
In recognition of his engineering achievements, Patel has been nominated for two notable awards in his home country: the National Youth Award 2015-16, given to recipients aged 15-29 who achieve excellence in the field of national or social service, and the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Excellence Award 2016, an award that recognizes contributions to scientific development and the humanities.