Sponsh

Although invisible to human eyes, air contains large quantities of water. This evaporated water forms clouds and brings rain. In dry areas, few clouds form and little rain falls. Nevertheless, many animals and plants in dry coastal regions, rely on humid air as their main source of water. The Namibian Desert Beetle has hydrophilic and hydrophobic areas on its skin to collect water. Desert spider webbing catches and absorbs water from air. Sponsh technology is based on this natural phenomenon.

Looking at how nature works in dry coastal areas, researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology developed a temperature-sensitive smart textile. At night, when temperatures are low, the material is super-hydrophilic. This means the material attracts water and absorbs significant amounts of water from the air. During the day, when temperatures are high, the material turns super-hydrophobic. This means the material repels water. The fibers contract and squeeze-out the water like a sponge. Preliminary research shows that the material is able to absorb and release water over 3 times its own weight each cycle. This way, the material absorbs water from the air every night and releases it during the day. Extrapolating the current results, one square meter is expected to produce up to 1.3 liter per day. The material works in dry coastal areas with sufficient difference in temperature between day and night.