As an endurance cyclist, I have to take water bottles very seriously. I use about 4 during big rides and keep them topped up whenever I can in case I run out during the ride. This might not be a problem in the future as Kristof Retezár, an industrial designer from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, has created the ultimate water bottle for cycling. You attach it to the bike, hit the road, and it fills itself up automatically. How? Magic. OK, so it’s not magic but it feels like it.
The self-filling water bottle, named Fontus, has already won awards despite being a prototype. Retezár claims it will work on any moving vehicle but the project is focusing on bikes because they are good for the environment and useful in developing countries. So how does it work? Small solar panels provide energy that is used to cool the top of the device and heat the bottom. As air rushes in, it condenses, hits water-repelling surfaces at the top, and drips down to be collected as water. Fontus literally pulls water from thin air. In very humid conditions it can produce half a litre every hour. The water will be save to drink when cycling in the countryside but will probably be contaminated if driving in cities. Personally, this doesn’t bother me. It’s when cycling 100 miles between towns that it becomes important to be stocked up with H20.
The product isn’t available but Retezár intends to release it as soon as it’s ready. The technology is actually fairly straightforward so it should be relatively cheap. I’d guess around £40. It would really depend on whether you opted for tiny built-in solar panels or a battery. The battery would defeat the point of it being good for the environment but would probably reduce the cost of the device. To be fair, he could charge a lot more and I’d still be waving cash at the monitor.
Main image © Kristof Retezár