Planet Earth is 71 per cent covered in water, but unfortunately, over 97 per cent of it is found in the oceans, as salt water.

This means that many countries in the world are still left without clean water that is safe to drink.

With this problem in mind, three Malaysian students from the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) have invented a device that can turn sea water into drinkable water.

Malay Mail reported that the trio - Bennie Beh Hue May, Loo Xin Yang, and Yap Chun Yoon, all second-year students at the School of Media, Arts and Design at APU, won RM10,000 after emerging champion at the national chapter competition of the James Dyson Award late last month, and are set to compete in the international stage of the competition set to take place later this year.

The trio will be competing against 84 national finalists from around the world to take home the coveted prize, with their invention called WaterPod - a sustainable seawater desalination pod that will provide sea nomads such as the Bajau community in Sabah, access to clean drinking water.

WaterPod is a floating device that contains a wick system which mimicks mangrove roots, that absorb seawater. The vapours that form around the semi-spherical cover from evaporation will then turn into water and flow into the storage chamber, after which the desalinated water can be pumped out for daily use, reported the portal.

The device reportedly has a storage capacity of 30 to 40 litres.

According to the report, the trio learned the plight of the Bajau community, who despite living at sea, have scarce access to clean drinking water, from their lecturer who works with an NGO assisting the community. The Bajau also resort to collecting rainwater or barter for water from the nearest place with tap water.

If they have access to clean water, the community can become self-sustaining by doing farming.

The innovators hope to attract potential collaborators, inventors and researchers to further develop the WaterPod for commercial use, so that a certain percentage of the profit can be channelled back to work with the community.

It is worth noting that the award, organised by the James Dyson Foundation based in the United States, aims to challenge young minds, including university students, to "design something that solves a problem."

Kudos to the trio for coming up with such a brilliant device.

Let's hope that WaterPod gets the due recognition it deserves so that it can be used to benefit more communities in need, around the world.

Source: Malay Mail
Photo source: APU website