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Artist’s rendering of the Water Seer device. The turbine on top of the device is rotated by the wind and spins an internal fan that pushes the warm air into a cooler, underground chamber with metal walls. Clean, safe water condenses onto the metal walls and flows into an internal reservoir.
Water Seer

One in nine people worldwide lives without access to clean drinking water, and that problem is especially bad in areas unsuitable for wells or irrigation. One solution: the WaterSeer, a wind-powered device that aims to extract up to 11 gal. of potable water every day–from thin air. The key? Condensation.

After a fan pushes air belowground, a pipelike metal chamber cools it, and then water particles collect in a reservoir. “Anybody who’s had a frothy glass of beer knows there’s moisture in the air,” says Don Zacherl, CEO of VICI Labs, which developed the WaterSeer. “We’re just applying it in a different way.” The company aims to send out the first versions next year, once the National Peace Corps Association has finished field testing.

This appears in the November 07, 2016 issue of TIME.

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