A new invention nicknamed the "drinkable book" may be a cheap way to bring clean drinking water to the people who need it the most.
Lack of access to clean drinking water is arguably the biggest problem facing the world's poorest people today, and the number suffering from it is only bound to increase over the next few decades. Sometimes water seems easier to find on other planets than right here at home. Luckily, scientists and inventors are working tirelessly on different ways to solve the problem, and the newest of these is the Drinkable Book.
How does it work? "All you need to do is tear out a paper, put it in a simple filter holder and pour water into it from rivers, streams, wells, etc. - and out comes clean water - and dead bacteria as well." That's inventor Dr. Teri Dankovich, a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who has been working on the book and its revolutionary pages for years now.
Each page contains written material providing instructions. The paper is treated and threaded with silver and copper nanoparticles, which kill bacteria that passes through the page. The results are on par with United States drinking water. One page can filter 100 liters of water; a single book can supply a person for four years.
"It's directed towards communities in developing countries," she says, adding that nearly 700 million people do not have access to clean drinking water, and that number increases annually.
The book has already seen field tests in Bangladesh, Ghana, and South Africa, as well as numerous lab trials. Dankovich is presenting the book at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston this week.
The idea of printing stories on the book's pages has also been floated. What books would fit best? A novelization of Waterworld, perhaps?