Jon Liow, Monash University student, is a finalist in the Australian Design Award – James Dyson Award with his invention the Solarball.
Using the age-old process of evaporation, the Solarball uses heat from the sun to turn dirty water into drinkable condensation. Dirty water is inserted into the device. As it is left out in the sun, heat causes evaporation to occur. This evaporation causes condensation to form – the device collects this condensation as drinkable water, ready for the user to disperse at any time throughout the day. Evaporation is proven to eliminate up to 90% of contaminants. Given the world water crisis and the millions of people with access to only contaminated/undrinkable water, the Solarball provides a smart, functional and efficient design solution to a worldwide problem.
The Solarball is 300mm spherical, easily able to be carried by men, women and children of all ages. It is a compact, personal, and portable device, in a market where many solutions are either bulky, require structural set up, or clumsy to transport. The device can be opened into two halves for cleaning, as residues will build up over time. Water can be inserted and dispersed throughout the day without the need to dismantle the device. This retains any heat that has been captured by the device throughout the day.
The device is made out of BPA-Free polycarbonate, and is suitable for mass manufacture. With plastic production increasing in accessibility, and bulk manufacturing providing lower costs, the device will aim to be sold around $35 to $50 per unit. The units will not be sold directly to those in the developing nations, rather the target client being organisations with field workers and distribution lines in these regions.
The Solarball is still in prototype phase, with lab tests currently being conducted to highlight possible areas of improvement before going to production. Jonathan and his team hope to get the Solarball into the hands of those who need it in the near future.
Let’s drink to Jonathan’s success and the Solarball’s life-changing potential.
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