Namib Beetle Inspires Award-Winning Invention

By Meera Dolasia on December 7, 2011

Word Search

A young Australian is $15,000 USD richer and the proud winner of this year's prestigious James Dyson Award, thanks to an invention that was inspired by the small Namib beetle, that resides in one of the world's most arid regions - The Namib Desert.

27-year old Edward Linacre edged out hundreds of innovators in the International design competition with his ingenious irrigation system that can draw water from thin air - Literally!.

Dubbed Airdrop, it was designed on the principle that even the most arid air contains water molecules. The trick to drawing them out is lowering the air temperature to the point of condensation. Using a network of underground pipes, Airdrop pumps the hot desert air into the cooler soil until the water molecules it contains, condense and drip straight onto the plant roots.

Using the rudimentary prototype that he built in his mother's backyard, Mr. Linacre was able to extract 11.5 ml. from every cubic meter of air in the dry Australian desert. He believes that even more can be extracted with some further tweaks.

The best part is, that unlike other condensation methods that require the use of a lot of energy, this simple contraption is totally green. It captures energy from the desert wind and transfers it to the small battery that powers the turbine and irrigation pump. On days when there is no wind, Airdrop's solar panels take over. This makes it economical to deploy to farmers suffering from water shortages all around the world especially, in third-world countries.

The young inventor, a former student at Melbourne's Swinburne University of Technology decided to embark on this project after witnessing what was dubbed as Australia's worst drought in a century. Looking around for inspirational ways to extract moisture from air, he stumbled upon the Namib beetle, indigenous to the South Africa's Namib Desert that gets less than half an inch of rain annually.

In order to survive, the clever critter has adopted by developing tiny hydrophilic bumps that are capable of attracting really small water droplets from the fog that covers the desert at night. When enough condenses, it becomes heavy and rolls down the insect's water-resistant back and straight into its thirsty mouth - Ingenious!

Resources: Telegraph.co.uk, treehugger.com

Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
84 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • hello2/6/2014
    cool
    • I wrote3/11/2012
      This is sooooo cool!!!
      • farmgirl#13/11/2012
        I'm totally doing this for my current events project at school!
        • lollypop3/11/2012
          What problem can this NOT solve?!
          • Awesomeme3/1/2012
            SO AWESOME!!!! :D
            • fluffymarshallow
              Cool!!!
              • jonathan2/25/2012
                i changed my mind it doesnt look like it works to well
                • my mom2/25/2012
                  works well i bought one
                  • Suki09242/14/2012
                    BEATLE who is that in the pic above I didnt read it
                    • soccergod123
                      soccergod1232/14/2012
                      so funny how a beetle inspires a award winning envention

                      Vocabulary

                      aridcondensationcontraptionembarkhydrophilicingeniousrudimentary

                      Geography

                      Most Popular Articles

                      Incredible 'Tree Of 40 Fruit' Lives Up To Its Name
                      Can 'Mini-Farms' Help Solve World Hunger?
                      Incredible 'Tree Of 40 Fruit' Lives Up To Its Name
                      Our Disappearing Birds
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject In School? Sweet!
                      Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (And The World)!
                      Are You Ready To 'Gangnam Style'?
                      Video Of The Week - If Frozen Was A Horror Movie . . .

                      Latest Comments

                      5sos wrote:

                      Needs to be 20% cooler
                      Incredible 'Tree Of 40 Fruit' Li...

                      Steven Adams wrote:

                      He wants to play with me!
                      Video Of The Week - A Future NBA...

                      squig!!!!!!!!!! wrote:

                      hahahaha my fav. photo is the fi...
                      America's Favorite Giant Panda C...

                      ALA