A study published in the journal Nature reports that scientists from Harvard University have designed a new material that can harvest water from thin air. The material has been inspired by organisms such as cacti, pitcher plants and desert beetles.
Researchers stated that this is the first step towards developing a system that can efficiently collect water from the air and guide it to a reservoir. The marvel was created after the scientists combined the traits of the Namib desert beetle and cactus. The material is so efficient that it is capable of retrieving water from even warm air. The mechanism of the material is inspired by the bumpy shell of desert beetles, the asymmetric structure of cactus spines and the slippery surfaces of pitcher plants.
Joanna Aizenberg from Harvard said, "Our research shows that a complex bio–inspired approach, in which we marry multiple biological species to come up with non–trivial designs for highly efficient materials with unprecedented properties is a new and promising direction in biomimetics". The technology will be of great use in areas where every drop of water counts. Moreover, it could also be used in several industrial applications such as the desalination plants, dehumidifiers and other machines where it is useful to get water out of the air quickly.