The Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) is seeking out devices that will enable deployed U.S. military troops to collect potable water directly from the atmosphere.

DARPA, otherwise known as the research body of the Pentagon, is calling for the development of a sorbent material or a device that can harvest water on the spot, directly from the air, to meet the daily demands of troops and other military personnel deployed in complex and low-resource environments.

Currently, the military relies on bottled water or the purification of local water sources to hydrate troops. Yet, each solution comes with its own challenges. For bottled water, transportation is the primary issue as well as the troops having to leave behind a so-called footprint. Likewise, water purification can be challenging and even dangerous if a water source is in an unsecured area.

Other solutions, like dehumidifiers, also present challenges. That equipment, in particular, tends to be bulky, consumes too much power and is generally inoperable in regions with low humidity.

As the issue of potable water impacts nearly every corner of the world, researchers from all over have attempted to devise water filtration solutions. Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have recently discovered possible water filtering use cases for the leftover grains used to produce alcohol. Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Texas have developed a water purification device inspired by an origami rose.

DARPA is requesting the submission of proposal abstracts for the potential solution by Jan. 28.

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