Harvesting Desert Fog
The Namibian Beetle raises its back into the air as fog rolls into its desert habitat. Bumps on its shell catch water droplets, which then run down chutes toward its mouth. “The design of this fog-collecting structure can be reproduced cheaply on a commercial scale and may find application in water-trapping tent and building coverings,” wrote the authors of a 2001 paper that revealed how the water collection works.
Inventors and designers have taken note. A “Dew Bank Bottle,” designed by Pak Kitae of the Seoul National University of Technology, imitates the beetle’s water-collection system. Morning dew condenses on it and conveys it to a bottle, which has a drinking spout.
Photographs by Michael & Patricia Fogden/Minden Pictures; Courtesy Pak Kitae