Oh those crazy Scandinavians, they've done it again. First the Danish invent an iPhone-controlled coffee maker that pours coffee out of a faucet, now the Swedish come up with a machine that turns your sweat into potable drinking water. Anyone thirsty?
Inspired by astronauts who pretty much recycle everything, this contraption was built by Swedish engineer Andreas Hammar from off-the-shelf-parts, including a clothes dryer and coffee filters. The main component is a filter developed by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
First you need to understand that sweat is just water with a little salt in it, and a some lactate, urea and other minerals (hey a little mammalian perspiration never hurt anyone).
Clothes are put into the dryer, which spins and squeezes out the sweat. Then the fluid gets heated, exposed to UV light and pushed through a series of high-tech filters, getting rid of the salt and other stuff. The water gets put through the coffee filters to strain out the clothing fibers and boom: fresh drinking water.
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It takes a full load of sweaty laundry to make about one pint of water, but with an exercise bike hooked up to it, you can probably squeeze out an extra cup or two of water. The thought of drinking a cup of sweat is enough to make anyone gag, but this?
Swedish public relations agency Deportivo has partnered with UNICEF to show off this new piece of technology at the Gothia Cup, a world youth soccer tournament, where players will hand-over their sweaty clothes in exchange for a nice, refreshing cup of sweat-water. Over 500 people have reportedly tried the water, with one saying it takes "perfume-y".
The Sweat Machine is meant to help those in developing countries lacking a potable water infrastructure.