Sweat for Water: Machine Makes Perspiration Drinkable

Would you drink water filtered from your own sweat? A project inspired by NASA astronauts calls attention to water scarcity in a surprising way with Sweat Machine, a working machine that actually takes sweat from used gym clothes and turns it into potable water. Created by ad agency Deportivo in conjunction with UNICEF, the machine’s most high-tech component is simply a filter.

The idea of downing a liquid that came from a pile of sweaty athletic clothing may be absolutely disgusting to most of us, but the point is to make us realize how desperate the water scarcity situation is in many parts of the world, and how important it is to come up with novel solutions – even if this one is a bit tongue-in-cheek.

The sweaty clothes go into a standard clothes dryer to spin out the water, which is then exposed to UV light to kill germs. Then, it’s passed through a high-tech filter developed at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm to remove salt and bacteria. Finally, it’s passed through a coffee filter to get out little fibers from the clothes. It takes a full load of sweaty shirts to make a pint of water.

The team brought the Sweat Machine to the Gotha Cup youth soccer tournament in Sweden, hooking up an exercise bike to the machine and encouraging people to participate – both in sweat generation, and giving the filtered water a try. The verdict? The water seems to taste okay, albeit “perfume-y.”

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