Feb 13, 2016 | By Kira
Nearly one billion people lack access to clean water and as many as three billion or more do not have access to electricity and connectivity. Even as the world becomes more connected, the discrepancy between the have and the have-nots is deepening and putting each of those lives at risk.
Seeking to improve global living standards for the most in-need areas in the world, tech startup Watly has built an integrated utility machine that harnesses solar power to provide solutions to three major needs of modern civilizations: free, off-grid electricity, water filtration, and internet connectivity. Uniquely modular in its design, the Watly can also be fitted with a variety of tools depending on specific community needs, including everything from e-car chargers to 3D printers.
Designed as a “hub of technology devices” running on proprietary software, Watly “exclusively” harnesses solar energy and converts it directly into free electricity. In urban communities, this energy could be used to charge our various and ubiquitous tech devices, but in infrastructure-poor regions, that extra energy could charge lamps or flashlights, allowing kids a few extra hours to study after the sun sets, and eliminating their reliance on dangerous and expensive kerosene oil. Built-in routers provide free WiFi connectivity, giving users access to invaluable education, health information, local and global resources and more.
Even more impressively, Watly claims to be able to purify up to 3 million liters of water per year without even needing to be attached to a power grid thanks to a number of electricity-producing photovoltaic cells. The water is treated using a vapor distillation process that, according to the company, can eliminate physical, chemical and bacterial contaminants, and can desalinate ocean water or even treat sewage water. This is perhaps Watly’s most important feature, as the UN estimates that nearly 6-8 million people annually from lack of water or water-related diseases. “Water is not a commodity, but a precious substance,” says Watly.
Watly is designed as a 35-meter long, sleek and futuristic hub that can be fully assembled in just a few days. Its design allows it to cross geographical borders and needs—while its water filtration and electricity generating features are invaluable to underserved areas, its ‘sculptural’ aesthetic makes it appealing even to modern megacities.
Here, too, its modularity could provide a range of benefits: aside from providing sustainable energy for charging devices as well as Internet connectivity, Watly can be modified to respond to the needs of various communities. In a University or library setting, Watly would be outfitted with a 3D printer for example, and thus serve as a public makerspace and community centre. In the same way, developing communities could also benefit from a 3D printer, allowing them to instantly manufacture tools, utensils, or other devices to improve their quality of life. Other add-ons include drone landing pads or solar coolers.
The company is also developing the Lively app, which would allow users to donate clean water and electricity to those in need directly through their phones.
Watly was founded in 2013 by Marco A. Attisani, an avid entrepreneur interested in AI, robotics, futurism, and renewable energy. Combining all of those interests, he created Watly, a “new product paradigm” for bringing invaluable resources to those in need through means of advanced technology. The startup has participated in various accelerators, including Startupbootcamp HighTech XL Eindhoven and Tecnocampus, Barcelona. Most recently, Watly received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and from the European Pioneers Programme.
The company, which currently has its marketing department in Spain and production facility in Italy, is planning on launching a crowdfunding campaign in the next few weeks. As ambitious as it is avant-garde, Watly proposes a highly technological solution to humanities greatest challenges, all within a solar-powered package, and we’ll be following closely to find out more.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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Johann@spectraprojects.co.za wrote at 2/15/2016 7:48:44 PM:
Please contact me urgently
PinkAsso wrote at 2/14/2016 3:34:27 PM:
To much time spent on outward design both from product standpoint to the Indiegogo video. Not sure why but it gives me the scam feel. The tech inside the box should be talked about more. No filters or membranes, so I guess it just boils water.