Getty Images
These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

Each year, some 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity for at least a month, according to UNICEF. In search of a solution, a team led by Lenan Zhang, research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created a unit that turns salt water into potable H20 using the power of the sun. Thermal desalination—evaporating, then condensing water to remove the salt—isn’t new, but powering the process using sunlight (making the process cheaper and less energy-intensive) is. In one hour, the MIT system can desalinate 2.5 liters of water per square meter of solar panel power.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at

Hydration Made Fun
A Modern Flip Phone
A Saliva Pregnancy Test
More Than a Fast Car
A Breakthrough Bassinet