Monday, January 7, 2008

Product Innovation Memo: The Lifesaver Water Bottle

British inventor Michael Pritchard just might have invented one of the most important, and lifesaving, products in recent history.

Prichard has turned a common looking plastic bottle into a device he says can instantly clean even the dirtiest water, making it safe to drink.

Michael Prichard hold his invention, the Lifesaver water bottle, up for all to see.

Prichard told writer Richard Maino of the London Press Service he got the idea for the Lifesaver water bottle after watching TV coverage of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The tsunami killed at least 230,000 people and displaced millions. Further, many of the survivors of the tsunami had no water in the aftermath of the killer storm, which left many of them dehydrated, leading to more deaths and numerous illnesses.

In his London Press Service story, Maino describes how the Lifesaver Bottle (pictured below) works, Prichard's goals for the simple-looking water bottle, and the potential it has to save lives in both underdeveloped countries where clean water is at a minimum, and for use in the aftermath of disasters like the tsunami.
Disaster relief workers rely on having bottled and canned water shipped into areas hit by serious disasters like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and even those in first world countries like Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. The problem is the distribution of the bottled and canned water can take days--and it's near-impossible to distribute it to all those affected by a major disaster on the scale of the tsunami for example due to the wide geographical path of the storm.

One the other hand, equipping people with a device like the Lifesaver water bottle in the immediate aftermath of such a disaster (or even giving them to people to have on hand in the event of such a disaster) can save lives that otherwise would be lost.

Such a device also would be far less expensive than buying bottled water. The environmental impact also would be considerably lower: Not only would gallons upon gallons of fuel be saved do to not having to truck in all the bottled water, but there would be no need to dispose of the empty plastic bottles in landfills. This is an especially serious waste issue in developing countries which generally don't recycle plastics.

If Prichard's invention works--which seems to be the case--it could be one of the most simple and basic, yet important life saving products in recent history.

Read the entire London Press Service article on the Lifesaver water bottle here.
Read more about the Lifesaver water bottle at the company's website here.

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