Kristiana Petrovic, Bryce Gelarden, Hannah Loredo, Jackson Collard
What is the problem your team addressed for this challenge and how is it related to climate change?
The Atacama Desert on the coast of Chile is the driest region in the world with an average rainfall of 0.04 inches per year. In fact, some regions have never recorded rainfall. This is why streams formed by the nearby Andes Mountains are necessary for survival. However, due to rising temperatures caused by climate change, these streams beds dry out during certain periods of time. Since the Atacama Desert is located on the coast, fog from the Pacific Ocean forms over a very large portion of the desert, which is their only reliable source of water.
What does your design solution do? How does it solve or improve the problem you selected?
People of the Atacama Desert have come up with ways to collect water out of thin air, but our team wanted to create something more efficient. Air2Water is a roofing tile that harvests fog from thin air. Slanted grooves on the base of the metal tile will lead the water into a series of pipes where it can be used. We have also incorporated some of the methods used by people living the the Atacama Desert, such as mesh material that dew collects on.
How was your solution inspired by nature? What organisms did you learn from and how did what you learned inform your design?
Our team has selected the Namib Beetle and the Honey Bee. We wanted to use the Namib Beetle because of its superhydrophobic back contains bumps that collects fog. When dew forms on its back, they drip into its mouth. We decided to incorporate the Honey Bee because of the honeycombs they construct. The unique structure holds together well and is one of the only shapes that fits perfectly with no empty space over a plane. Therefore, this would make sure all water is being collected and there are no open spots on the roof.