The aptly-named LifeStraw is an invention that could become one of the greatest life-savers in history. It is a 25 cm long, 29 mm diameter, plastic pipe filter and costs just a few dollars (the manufacturers originally informed us the price was around US$2.00 but the price is now under review and we’ll be posting a new price shortly. The most prolific killer of human beings in developed countries is the automobile, followed by a host of diseases resulting mainly from an indulgent lifestyle.
Millions of people perish every year because they simply don’t have clean water to drink. Until now, there was not much we could do about this because systems to clean water were costly and required electricity and spare parts and and and … but the LifeStraw now offers a viable means of saving tens of millions of lives every year.
LifeStraw is a personal, low-cost water purification tool with a life time of 700 litres – approximately one year of water consumption for one person. Positive test results have been achieved on tap, turbid and saline water against common waterborne bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, Enterococcus and Staphylococcu.
If we can find a way of manufacturing and distributing one of these to each human at risk, every year, we could save countless lives (now there’s a noble outcome for the tech blogs and mags of the world to work together to promote this). Each LifeStraw lasts for one person’s annual needs of clean water – a simple straw costing a few dollars will ensure that one at-risk person will not die for a year – now that’s a donation we can all make with a serious kicker!
This LifeStraw was designed with special emphasize on avoiding any moving parts, as a sealed unit with no replaceable spare parts, and avoiding the use of electricity, which does not exist in many areas in the 3rd world. But as force (power) is required to implement the filtering, Vestergaard Frandsen chose to use the natural source of sucking, that even babies are able to perform. A brief technical rundown is available at MedGadget, the internet journal of emerging medical technologies.