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"Lifesaver Bottle" Filters Viruses Out of Water

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the drink-me dept.

Science 503

gihan_ripper writes "British inventor Michael Pritchard has developed a small self-contained filter system that instantly cleans water, removing all particles larger than 15nm. He said that he was inspired after seeing the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004; people had to wait for many days to get fresh water and many died from drinking contaminated water. The filter is so effective that it can purify dirty river water and even fecal matter. His bottle will shortly be available for sale from Lifesaver Systems at an expected cost of £190 (approx. $385)."

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Pee (-1, Troll)

Drew McKinney (1075313) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587261)

Until it can turn my pee into water, I don't see the usefulness.

No Shit?!? (1, Redundant)

canipeal (1063334) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587305)

"The filter is so effective that it can purify dirty river water and even fecal matter."

Re:No Shit?!? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587609)

It removes all particles larger than 15 nm, but chemical bond lengths are typically 0.2 nm, so this bottle will not filter small molecules such as Urea [] .

Re:No Shit?!? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20588179)

This is Old News. Or even "copycat" news. A thing called the LifeStraw [] does much the same and is already on the market.

Re:Pee (1)

darkrowan (976992) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587345)

Well it's not too far off. You'd need only to filter out dissolved solids, maybe a little UV to kill anything else just in case.

Re:Pee (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587827)

If it filters everything down to a virus exactly what is left for the UV to kill?

This wouldn't filter out toxins like hydrocarbons and other nasty stuff that is in flood waters.

Re:Pee (3, Insightful)

damaki (997243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587423)

Pee is not toxic. So, unless you rather wait for a good tasting liquid than survive, there is no problem.

Re:Pee (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587485)

It's not immediately toxic but the body does use it as a way to get rid of toxic chemicals so if you keep drinking all your pee then those chemicals will just build up in your system.

Re:Pee (5, Informative)

808140 (808140) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587965)

This actually takes quite a while; for most people, urine is upwards of 98% water. Sure, if you drink nothing but urine for months you may develop problems -- but if you're stuck somewhere and water is in short supply, you should definitely drink your urine. It only takes the average human 3 or 4 days to die of thirst, and if you don't know when help will arrive, don't risk it.

Re:Pee (2, Informative)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587553)

Not to mention urine is usually sterile until it exits the body. The real question is whether the filter will remove any/enough of the waste products that the body is trying to rid itself of to make such a recycling loop acceptable for more than a couple of passes.

Re:Pee (4, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588041)

I'm not sure you understand the purpose of peeing.

Re:Pee (2, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587555)

No, but a simple evaporator made from a piece of plastic sheeting, a container of some kind and a stone can.

Re:Pee (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587651)

<Tyler Durden>
Urine is sterile. You can drink it.
</Tyler Durden>
I know this, because Tyler knows this.

Re:Pee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20588013)

Until it can turn my pee into vodka, I agree.

Eureka! (1)

oktokie (459163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588021)

Can it be used to filter out and purify cheap vodka into expensive one?

I've read some guy experimented with brita filter just doing this.

Save a life today (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587271)

Day 1

Mommy, I am only 8 inches long, but I have all my organs. I love the sound of your voice. Every time I hear it, I wave my arms and legs. The sound of your heart beat is my favorite lullaby.

Day 2

Mommy, today I learned how to suck my thumb. If you could see me, you could definitely tell that I am a baby. I'm not big enough to survive outside my home though. It is so nice and warm in here.

Day 3

You know what Mommy, I'm a girl!! I hope that makes you happy. I always want you to be happy. I don't like it when you cry. You sound so sad. It makes me sad too, and I cry with you even though you can't hear me.

Day 4

Mommy, my hair is starting to grow. It is very short and fine, but I will have a lot of it. I spend a lot of my time exercising. I can turn my head and curl my fingers and toes, and stretch my arms and legs. I am becoming quite good at it too.

Day 5

You went to the doctor today. Mommy, he lied to you. He said that I'm not a baby. I am a baby Mommy, your baby. I think and feel. Mommy, what's abortion?

Day 6

I can hear that doctor again. I don't like him. He seems cold and heartless. Something is intruding my home. The doctor called it a needle. Mommy what is it? It burns! Please make him stop! I can't get away from it! Mommy!! HELP me!! No . . .

Day 7

Mommy, I am okay. I am in Jesus's arms. he is holding me. He told me about abortion. Why didn't you want me Mommy?

One more heart that was stopped. Two more eyes that will never see. Two more hands that will never touch. Two more legs that will never run. One more mouth that will never speak.


The best part of you ran down your dad's leg (0, Offtopic) (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587361)

Day 5: ... I think and feel. Mommy,

Totally physically impossible. Of course, the religious right is used to lying and manipulating, because they can't ever show proof (like where's this God dude, anyway?)

Day 5 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20588139)

Day 5 after conception I doubt that you can think or feel at that point, but you are certainly a human being at that point by definition because you now have the full 23 pairs of chromosomes in your DNA

I have distinct memories of being aware of myself and of other people "outside" while I was still in my mother's womb. I knew who my older sister was because she would lay next to my mother and sing to me. I knew who our family doctor was, because my mother had some medical complications and made many frequent trips to his office during the latter months of the pregnancy, and his voice was extraordinarily distinctive sounding, very deep with a thick southern drawl. I have vivid memories of my own birth. I was quite awake and conscious... and very terrified during the ordeal. Later as a child, I described everything I remembered to our doctor (this was in a small southern city in the late 1960s when there were no fancy big city hospital with teams of specialists, we had one and only one family doctor who took care of all our medical needs, and a very small and modestly equipped small town hospital) and the old doctor was flabberghasted that I recalled the details of what I remembered during my birth, the color of the delivery room, the unusual light fixture on the ceiling, seeing him for the first time, his two nurse assistants and the gowns they were wearing, and my crying uncontrollably until I couldn't catch my breath anymore when the nurse came at me with large scissors to cut the umbilical cord and then I stopped breathing and remember seeing the doctor and his nurses go into a panic just before I blacked out.

So yes, I am living proof that even before your birth, and at least several months before your actual delivery, you are very much self-aware, and understand the concept of other people even though you cannot yet see them, and you able to understand communication from them.

-1, WTF?!? (-1, Offtopic)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587493)

Seriously, can we get some new tags for moderation already?

Re:Save a life today (-1, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587759)

Day 0

Mommy, I know you were raped and were only 13 and you can't afford to feed me properly, but don't let the bad doctor take me away!


You know what I always say? If you can't feed em, don't breed em.

Re:Save a life today (-1, Offtopic)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587773)

At least that asshole that got aborted won't have to listen to all the bullshit that all the god-believing pieces of shit like you spit out 24/7.

I Wish my mother had aborted me. It would have been better than being on the same universe you are.

Re:Save a life today (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20588117)

It's not too late to abort yourself now, if you want.

Re:Save a life today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587853)

Thank you for telling me what to do with my body!

Your advice reminded me why I don't take religion seriously. You are all full of shit but you speak as though you are conveying objective facts.

I hope you don't support the war in Iraq. That is the mass murder / oil theft that we all directly fund with our taxes. George W Bush is the real mass murderer, not some doctor that lets women choose whether or not they want to give birth to a child.

Re:Save a life today (1, Offtopic)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587885)

Day 1 Mommy, I am only 8 inches long,

Bzzzt! Wrong. Day 1 is nothing but a bunch of cells called a zygote which cannot be seen by the human eye.

At 5 weeks, the embryo is only 10mm (.3937007874 inches) in length.

It's not until the 18th week that the fetus approaches eight inches in length.

Done lying yet? Or does your God allow that?

SpaceSuits anyone? (3, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587293)

This sounds like what was in Dune... A rehydrator from excrement (sweat, fecal matter, urine).

If anything, along with rebreathers and this rehydrator, one could stay in horrendously inhospitable areas for a long while.

$385!? (5, Insightful)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587297)

Fantastic idea, except for the fact that anyone in the path of Katrina who could have afforded a $385 water bottle could have afforded a $90 plane ticket, $35 bus ride, or $27 tank of gas.

Re:$385!? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587371)

Now think big, create an industrial size good-for-the-whole-town version and sell it to the government...

Re:$385!? (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587961)

Now think big, create an industrial size good-for-the-whole-town version and sell it to the government...
I am pretty sure they already have those.

Re:$385!? (5, Insightful)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587377)

As I understand it a lot of people could have afforded to get out. However they didn't think it was going to be that bad, it's just another huricane after all, and prefered to stick it out and make sure their stuff was not looted. However once it hit, and it turned out to be bad, getting out became a problem.

Re:$385!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587897)

Those that were too stupid to get out in time got what they deserved. Everyone knew what was coming. People act now like there were no weather predictions, and that it was going to be really bad.

Re:$385!? (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587379)

But I bet it is easier to get these to people after the fact that to get them as much water as it can produce.

Re:$385!? (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587443)

That's a good point. If they could get production streamlined enough to knock the price down I could see these as a good temporary solution for natural disasters, i.e. airlifting a few crates of these suckers to disaster areas to tide people over while rescue efforts were under way.

Re:$385!? (2, Insightful)

usfGPM (235370) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587427)

I think the initial idea is to let the first responders and shelters have a few of these in storage so that they can be distributed to the areas that need them in an emergency. After the are in wider use, the price will come down and it will start to be feasible for individuals to buy them.

Re:$385!? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587815)

They'll probably see wider use in the army, being able to easily get freshwater with an item that would fit within a soldier's personal gear and can be operated in the field without refills for a good while sounds like a good deal.

Re:$385!? (2, Insightful)

NeoTerra (986979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587453)

"...could have afforded a $90 plane ticket, $35 bus ride, or $27 tank of gas"

Difficult to do when there is no bus drivers, or no electricity to pump gas or run the airport. You forget the largest problem in Katrina was getting to the people, and getting the people somewhere safe, among other local government problems.

Re:$385!? (2, Insightful)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587591)

Those were all problems after the fact, however. Prior to landfall those options were open, and even moving from New Orleans to, say, a Motel 6 in East Texas would greatly improve your situation in that scenario, moving you out of the path of the eye. Besides which, once the storm hit, it would be as difficult to buy those bottles as it would be to get transportation. Buying the bottles beforehand presumes an attitude of preparedness that I don't think was there, or else you would have seen more evacuation prior to the storm making landfall, or going back even further strengthening of the levee system.

Re:$385!? (2, Interesting)

doooooosh (1124823) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587551)

I've been using the First Need Deluxe water purifier for 10 years. It costs ~$100 for the whole thing, ~$40 for a replacement cartridge. It deals with virii and has been around forever. Sure, each cartridge is only good for about ~100 gallons, but I'm skeptical of the claims that this bottle can do 10 times that without changing the filter.

Re:$385!? (1)

MagikGimp (1057268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587697)

That's surely just the progress of technology.

virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587945)

that makes me cry

Re:$385!? (3, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587587)

Fantastic idea, except for the fact that anyone in the path of Katrina who could have afforded a $385 water bottle could have afforded a $90 plane ticket, $35 bus ride, or $27 tank of gas.

Easier to hand out one bottle per person than one gallon of water per person per day. You also fail to note that there were mile-long lines at the pumps, and flights and buses were full. This is in part due to infrastructure, part due to the realities of evacuating a large city, and partly because the evacuation order was given ridiculously late.

Re:$385!? (2, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587629)

You know how you never want to be the first to acquire new technology because of the high prices? Right now, the dude is targeting the military with this product at this price. He sold out his entire 1,000 bottle stock at a military trade show. Just like GPS, night vision, and sat phones, the prices will come down as the armed forces acquire these things. Eventually, these suckers will become commodities. I hike a lot. I would love to have one of these things because right now, you have to either carry lots of water, or plan routes that go by running water sources so you can boil the water or filter/iodine it.

Re:$385!? (1)

Beached (52204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587749)

Or buy a filtering water bottle that costs $40CDN and use an antiviral if you are really worried about the water. But, for the most part they work very well. They use activated charcoal filters.

Re:$385!? (3, Informative)

tylernt (581794) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587755)

Not to mention the fact that hikers and backpackers have used $60 filter bottles [] for years now that do pretty much the same thing. Not only that, but I already have filter straws [] with activated carbon in my 72-hour kits [] . They cost about $10. Another company makes a small battery-powered water filter with a UV light in it to sterilize pathogens.

I'm to lazy to RTFA, but this thing sounds like a ridiculously expensive non-invention. The already existing, less-expensive technology might not get virii out, but you're generally not concerned with virii in drinking water -- it's the physical matter, bacteria, and cysts that are the main concern.

Re:$385!? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20588131)

I have RTFA and I feel the same way you do.

The filter I use sells for less than $100 and it fits inside a Camelbak water bladder. If I'm particularly paranoid I can toss in an iodine tablet and add another $1 to the cost of purifying a gallon.

Re:$385!? (1)

Wolfger (96957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587927)

My thoughts exactly. Nobody is going to shell out $300 for something they don't expect to ever use. So it's a great invention, but it won't be saving many lives after all.

Re:$385!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587959)

A $3.95 copy of the October 2001 copy of Scientific American should have been enough. The "Drowning New Orleans" article predicted in accurate detail exactly what was going to happen when a hurricane hit. When I read that in 2001, it was clear to me that anybody who decided to keep living there given what was bound to happen was just plain crazy. People who still live there given what's already happened are even crazier.

The ground under New Orleans continues to sink. Sea levels continue to rise. One day the city is going to suffer an even more direct hit. The only rational thing to do is leave. Now.

Re:$385!? (1)

QuantumTheologian (1155137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588023)

As with most new technology, the price will come down if it's widely used.

Re:$385!? (1)

chinaguy (1022547) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588061)

Wouldn't beer be cheaper?

Re:$385!? (1)

mschallmo (777316) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588153)

True, but I think hard/expensive part is to figure out where you're going in that plane, bus or car with a full tank of gas. It's hard/expensive to get out if you have no where to go.

It even purifies fecal matter? (5, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587319)

No shit!

Re:It even purifies fecal matter? (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587583)


What about LifeStraw? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587341) []

Re:What about LifeStraw? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587615)

LifeStraw only costs $3, so the Lifesaver Bottle must obviously be 100 times better. Since LifeStraw is 99.9999% effective [] at filtering common bacteria, the slightly pricier version will probably start exhibiting homeopathic properties.

Re:What about LifeStraw? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587765)

And on that subject, jackasses like this [] are why it's hard to help anyone:

However, a spokesman for UK charity WaterAid, which works to supply clean water and sanitation in 17 of the world's poorest countries, condemned the device as overly expensive, and said it was not a real solution.

The organisation's Paul Hetherington said that while he thought the LifeStraw is an 'amazing-sounding idea,' he did not ultimately think it would help.

"$3.50 sounds like very little to you and me - but most people in those countries earn less than one dollar a day, with which they have to feed their families," he said.

He added that he felt the problem is that many people live very far away from their water, often walking a total of 20km or more carrying a weight of 25 kilos.

"That's what takes it out of them - the long journey," he explained.

"The LifeStraw isn't going to prevent that long journey, even if it does improve the water they drink.

"They're not going to have the education, because they're not going to have the time. It's girls in particular who suffer, because it's women and girls who have to collect the water.

"It only costs a charity like WaterAid £15 per person to provide them with water, sanitation and hygiene education, which, provided there is decent water resource management in the country, will last them a lifetime.

"At that rate, $3.50 is expensive."

Of course, if "there is decent water resource management in the country" in the first place, none of this would be necessary. And never mind that if I'd have to make a trek for water anyway, I'd prefer it to be clean when I got there.

If the LifeStraw at $3.00 will actually hurt women and girls and not solve the rest of society's ills, I can only imagine what Mr. Hetherington would think about a model that cost 100x more.

... about LifeStraw? (1)

Lionheart_DK (1156293) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587943)

"...homeopathic properties." lool!

-the worst part about this, is that lifestraw(a DANISH invention)
(g00gle it, if you don't believe me)
was invented to help people in third-world countries (hence the low cost),
as well as people in catastrophe-hit areas, and then a greedy swine comes along.
I seriously hope he chokes on it, the bastard.
(no; I wish for every being to have long, good lives, but this is just evil)

I want my still-suit now. (1)

expro (597113) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587357)

Just what I have been waiting for. I want my still-suit now.

Volunteer testers must have lined up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587367)

I mean, who wouldn't want to see if this prototype REALLY got the poop smell out of water?

Great! (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587369)

But how do you clean the filter? Clean water?

Re:Great! (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587671)

Presumably it's disposable, and considering that it's probably the bulk of the cost, the whole bottle would be disposed/recycled at the end of its usefulness...which I might add is projected at 4,000 - 6,000 liters of filtered water, according TFA.

O rly? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587375)

385 bucks, huh? Sounds like he's hell-bent on saving a lot of lives.

Re:O rly? (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587473)

He can't just pull the raw materials and equipment to make these out of his butt, dipshit. Those have a non-zero cost, and for a superfine filter like he's making the cost of production must be non-trivial.

It it sees widespread production, the cost will go down (economies of scale) and advances in materials science and manufacturing techniques could also get the price down. Eventually.

Re:O rly? (1)

leadghost (1060684) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587929)

Uncle Sam is gonna butter this guys bread big time. And as we all know, price is no object!

The poor people of NOLA (1)

smagruder (207953) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587387)

I somehow have doubts that the poor people remaining in NOLA during and after Katrina would have been able to make use of these bottles, if they were available, at 385 freaking dollars!

The government would buy it! (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587635)

Ok, $385 a bottle for a person is a lot to swing, but $385M for the US Government to stockpile a million of these things is chump change. I guarantee shipping a little purifier bottle into a disaster zone would be a lot cheaper than trying to ship in millions of pounds of bottled water or other methods, so it would be cheaper for the gov't.

I think we need to have these, what if the terrorists take out the water. Really, as much as people see the war on terror as a total waste, if rich people are actually willing to fork over taxes and spend gov't bucks on total preparation, I think we'd all do well to invent things like this!

Expensive (2, Insightful)

eknagy (1056622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587397)

Water purifier pills are way cheaper. Still, most people don't keep a box of them "just in case" in their backpack (right next to the dry rations, water-proof matches and raincoat).

Re:Expensive (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587763)

Water purifier pills are way cheaper.

I wholeheartedly agree, but they don't remove suspended solids or do much to remove odor (other than to perhaps mask it).

Something tells me that the marketing point of view was taken to draw more attention to the product ("hey, look! this can save lives!") rather than selling it on where most of the buyers are going to be, the military and extreme outdoors recreationalist types.

Sounds like a good idea (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587409)

Especially for those entering inhospitable terrain or likely to face the risk of severe dehydration, desert or jungle environments and so forth, as well as for emergency post-disaster use. As this is Slashdot I've obviously not read the article (yet) but what's the lifespan/filtration capacity of the bottle? Presumably it's able to be used many times, but is there some way of seeing, or being made aware, of when it's no longer effectively filtering the contaminants?

Re:Sounds like a good idea (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587597)

Having read the article I'm now prompting bad karma by double-posting and replying to myself, but it's apparently good for between 4000 and 6000 litres; making the cost-per-litre between 4.75pence and 3.16 (recurring) pence per litre. Which isn't bad at all, really apart from the initial outlay.

Though there's still the matter of when you know the filter's exhausted and needs replacing.

Re:Sounds like a good idea (2, Informative)

syzler (748241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587925)

From the Life Saver's site:

As the cartridge approaches the end of its life the bottle requires a greater number of pumps to induce water to flow. When the bottle requires a significant number of pumps to induce water to flow this indicates that it is nearing the end of its life. When no more water can be induced to flow despite continuous pumping, the cartridge has expired and it is time to replace it.

Re:Sounds like a good idea (1)

Xolotl (675282) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587637)

4000 or 6000 litres depending on the cartridge. Water is pumped through with a hand pump which stopw working when the cartidge is used up.

distill, or filter? (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587499)

TFA says both. Which is it?

Obligatory (4, Funny)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587501)

Is there one for Windows?

Also Obligatory (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588003)

Only on Vista. The DRM is brutal and if it finds an arbitrary problem, it flavours the water like Pepsi Blue.

makign these for 3rd world countries (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587531)

I've read, probably in Technology Review, of people making this for 3rd world countries where bad drinking water is rampant. I think they've gotton costs minimal (@$15) and reliability high. .

Good idea, wrong location? (2, Interesting)

spooje (582773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587539)

Sounds great, but what are the odds that the average citizens in Ache or any of the other poor areas affected by the tsunami could afford the bottle.

On the other hand, it sounds great for places like in Tokyo where you'll need a water cleaning kit for the big one. People will still have plenty of access to water in the form of Tokyo Bay and the rivers, but nothing clean enough to normally drink. It would have to be better than the current stratergy of leaving filled bottles of water outside houses and in local parks.

385?? (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587563)

There are good (and cheap) ways of decontaminating water. Something as simple as "boiling". Some substances (like bleach and potassium permanganate) also do the trick.

This may be a good idea for someone that has to drink water from whatever. But not for Katrina type of stuff.

And even then, fish still fuck on it...


LifeStraw (5, Informative)

mutende (13564) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587673)

More than one year ago, BBC mentioned the LifeStraw [] that filters water as you drink. It's able to filter 700 litres of water and was at that time priced at less than two quid (probably the wholesale price). See also the inventor Torben Vestergaard Frandsen's website [] .

Nice Price! (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587679)

His bottle will shortly be available for sale from Lifesaver Systems at an expected cost of £190 (approx. $385).
At one hundredth of that cost, this could actually become a life saver to hundreds of millions of people and not just wealthy people who are lost in the woods for days.

Nevertheless, the idea is great and hopefully it can be sold for $10 in the future after a few refinements.

This is not new.. can get one for less than $50 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587695)

Anyone who has ever been camping in the back country knows that there's been several products on the market like this for quite a while now... such as this [] one.

Re:This is not new.. can get one for less than $50 (1)

Dolmangar (601769) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587859)

The livesaver bottle seems to provide 1000+ gallons for water for the price. This $50 bottle provides 26 gallons.

"LIFESAVER cartridges
LIFESAVER bottle is fitted with either a 4000UF or 6000UF replaceable cartridge. The 4000UF has a service rating of up to 4000 litres of water and the 6000UF up to 6000 litres. The cartridge will remove bacteria, viruses, cysts, parasites, fungi and all other microbiological water-borne pathogens from your water (see performance data)."

4000 liters for $385? Not outrageous! (3, Insightful)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587739)

This makes economic sense under some conditions: Instead of cases of bottled water, you have one bottle and filter as needed.

If this can deliver 4,000 liters at under $1 a liter, and is shipped empty, it's cheaper than shipping pallets of bottled water for military and aid organizations. And when mass production hits, I can see this becoming popular with campers, tourists, business travellers and others.

Re:4000 liters for $385? Not outrageous! (1)

deander2 (26173) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587995)

$400 / 4000 liters = $.10/liter, not $1/liter.

Re:4000 liters for $385? Not outrageous! (2, Funny)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588075)

$400 / 4000 liters = $.10/liter, not $1/liter

Damned metric system!

Nothing new here (1, Insightful)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587747)

Micron size water filters have been around for a long time, ask any outdoorsman or backpacker. They've always been rather expensive, though not usually as much as this one. Also, all those particles that are filtered out of your water are left behind in the filter, which rather quickly clogs up those micron sized pores, requiring the cartridges to be replaced. The throughput also isn't very great, unless you have a pump to force the water through filter.
How is this anything more then a press release for something that's not very new at all??

Re:Nothing new here (2, Insightful)

merlinokos (892352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587937)

Reading the article indicates a 4000-6000 liter capacity before swapping filters.
How does that compare to the existing products? And how does it fit in with your reflexive scorn of anything new?

Re:Nothing new here (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588087)

Micron size water filters have been around for a long time, ask any outdoorsman or backpacker

Yes. I have one in my emergency supplies. Here's some basic info on small water purifiers. [] These things tend to be slow, low-throughput devices, since they work by forcing water through a 200nm or so absolute filter. Prices are in the US$100 - US$300 range, depending on throughput. Is this new thing faster, or easier to clean, or cheaper, or something?

Kill kill kill kill kill the poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20587821)

His bottle will shortly be available for sale from Lifesaver Systems at an expected cost of £190 (approx. $385).

Number of people who died from drinking contaminated water during Katrina, the tsunami and other disasters that can afford such a bottle?


Re:Kill kill kill kill kill the poor (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588115)

Number of people who died from drinking contaminated water during Katrina, period.


real or just an ad? (5, Interesting)

kurthr (30155) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587845)

It's been possible to buy similar "virus level" filters for hiking since at least the 80s. The typical problems are cleaning, and clogging. See Katadyn or your local REI for a variety of samples. Then there's the "$2" (really about $7) LifeStraw, that was advertised on gizmodo 2 years ago... is this just a running theme?

If the filter is small enough to block viruses, then it is so small that even very small 1u particles will clog it. The whole filter system has to be optimized... and they still clog. They claim 1000 liters, but I'm not really buying it. If it really has something to do with distilling, then I'd be more positive, but that's usually pretty darn complex.

Perhaps he's using a teflon reverse osmosis filter? At the price, it's certainly possible. Those take significant pressure, but they would take out viruses. The water has to start pretty clean too or they develop a film which clogs them too. People have tried iodine on them as well... it works for a while. Whithout knowing what this thing is (and the website's no help), I don't think we can really talk coherently about it.

If it is just a filter you can reverse flush and clean and do a variety of other things, but if your filter clogs after a few liters you'll be _very_ unhappy. This is made more difficult by the fact that you're trying to clean out biologicals, which will happily grow in the filter so it clogs up even quicker, and the cleaning is even more important and difficult to do completely. That's why people make throw aways or just add a halogen (chlorene/iodine) to a tub of relatively filtered water (so things can diffuse) and wait an hour.

Most hikers (who bother) use a more coarse filter (for bacteria only). Often these are treated with iodine as well, and perhaps charcoal to remove bad tastes. These keep clogging problems down, and make cleaning somewhat more easy. That's what the LifeStraw is based on.

I hope this is really an advancement, but it has the smell of an ad.

Yes, but... (4, Funny)

freyyr890 (1019088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587867)

Does it remove Dihydrogen Monoxide [] from the water?

Details? (1)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587901)

I'm curious about how this works. We've had filters that were capable of filtering out viruses for a long time, so it's not anything new. The problem is that they clog very quickly when you try to filter anything that has large amounts of solids in it (like feces). If it's some kind of multi-stage filter that uses increasingly smaller pore size filters at each stage, how often do you need to change the filter?

Price gouging (1, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#20587917)

Someone could stock up on these at $385 each. Buy 1000 of them. Then go and sell them for, say $500 when the next major disaster hits.

People would get safe water that way.

But it would be price gouging, so it's illegal. Better people die from drinking polluted water than someone make a few dollars helping them. That's the rule of price-gouging laws.

One of 4 things (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588001)

During Hurricane Rita, there seemed to be 4 things that were important to get to the affected people: water, electricity, ice, and chainsaws (yes, chainsaws). If there were some simple, cheap source of electricity, (like the OLPC?) it would be fantastic.

I 'll stick with the Biosandfilter, Thanks (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588005)

1st. Nice marketing gimmick, but the same technology can be used with common everyday objects like Sand and Gravity. (Add a little charcoal from you fire and your really High-Tech.)

2nd. Does anyone study history anymore, because: John Gibbs did this in 1804 when he built the means of water treatment and sold it to the public in Paisley Scotland.

3rd. try a do it yourself job at [] or get a more field expedient version at []

This is nothing new. (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588025)

There has been gear like this for years - outfitter stores provide these capabilities [] - including solar stills, reverse osmosis filtration and the tried and true Iodine tables for a lot less than $350!

Sounds like someone is trying to make a buck at the expense of ignorant people. Of course, the site is /.'d so I can't verify his claims.

$ 93 "First Need" Filter (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588071)

His bottle will shortly be available for sale from Lifesaver Systems [CC] at an expected cost of £190 (approx. $385)."

Simple, portable, anti-viral filters are not new. The First Need Deluxe Water Filter/Purifier [] is $93 at Amazon. First Need is one filter that claims to meet EPA virus-removal standards by filtration alone -- a nice change from the yucky taste (and for some, the health risks) of iodine. Most antiviral filters involve an iodine element; when its job is done, a carbon element rids your water of any face-scrunching aftertaste. How To Buy a Water Filter []

Better Use (2, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588101)

So there is a 15nm filter that can get even viruses and bacteria out of water?

How about using it for home use, recycling "Grey water waste" and rainwater into drinking water. £400 a pop seems more impressive when considered that way. Assuming the filters can be made economically enough there is a huge potential market there.

I like the idea of anything that reduces our dependence on piped convenience.

Too much filtration... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588119)

I can see the usefulness for survival-type purposes, but are we going to see some people from overprotective germ-scared parents to not-quite hypochondriacs start overusing some of these things, such that their immune systems fail to become hardened enough to disease? Isn't there a point where catching a freakin' cold or flu may actually be GOOD for you down the road?

That's over a week full time at minimum wage! (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588169)

His bottle will shortly be available for sale from Lifesaver Systems at an expected cost of £190 (approx. one week's pay or half one month's rent for those that would have actually needed this during Katrina.)

From the website (4, Funny)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20588193)

From the lifesaver systems [] "unique features" page:

LIFESAVER bottle is fitted with a chew-proof non-tasting replaceable teat.

Finally. I hate when my teat gets all chewed up. It's also pretty creepy that my previous teat can taste me whenever I use it.

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