Friday, December 26, 2008

The Watermill

Element Four, a company that is constantly looking to the future, recently revealed their plans for the watermill, a device with technology that could provide a limitless source of water from the air itself. The hope is that this device would help in irrigation, personal thirst, peacekeeping and disaster relief.

The Watermill’s process is actually quite simple. It drains moist outside air through an air filter. This moist air then passes over a cooling element causing condensation into moist water droplets. The water is then collected and passed through two other filters. Both the carbon and ultraviolet sterilize the water to help eliminate bacteria making this water extra clean.

The WaterMill is designed to be installed unobtrusively on the outside of your home to catch outside air so it will never dry out the air in your room. Element Four claims that location doesn’t matter at all. Whether you live in a crowded city or the countryside you will be drinking the most pristine of water that is better then tap, bottled or spring water. In a sense all you are really purchasing is a giant dehumidifier that has been combined with a water purification unit.

One of the biggest issues regarding the Watermill is climate control. Skeptics feel that city’s weather patterns might be reengineered through deployment of watermills over time. This could occur accidently or on purpose depending on the area. But the biggest worry is that by sucking condensation from the air a city could quickly go into a drought. Without a steady flow of humidity, areas once use to rainy seasons could end up getting virtually zero rainfall.

But perhaps one of the benefits of moderating the weather is that summer storms and other problems can be stopped before they start. Devices like this could end up helping society in the long as they can help control and curb the weather. One scholar brings up the idea of solar powered air conditioners. These air conditioners could be realistically placed atop skyscrapers and then flood the surrounding streets with downward winds of cooled air, making super hot days more bearable.

But this wouldn’t be the first time that civilization has altered weather patterns. All one really needs to do is look towards history to figure out technology and its impact on climate. The introduction of coal to London’s climate in the 18th and 19th century had dramatic weather effects. In fact, depending on your belief of global warming once can make an argument that most modern technology has had an impact on weather systems. Either way, the creation of the Watermill is quite an astounding feet. Being able to provide water to places that normally have trouble is quite astonishing. As a society we just have to balance the pluses and minuses and figure out where this unique device would have the most impact.

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