The Drinkable Book

Clean water availability in many third world countries is proving to be a major problem. A lot of these countries do have some water sources, but the problem lies with the process of filtering and converting it into potable water. The WHO estimates that 2 billion people in the world drink water from a source that has been contaminated.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University with the help of Water is Life, have come up with a solution that tackles a few issues with this problem. They have invented a book, that provides educational advice and lessons for pupils about water sanitation. The pages also turn into water filtration tools and it is estimated that each book can provide a person with clean water for four years. The design takes advantage of silver’s effective antimicrobial characteristics. Each page weight contains less than 1% of silver. Bacteria absorb silver ions as they pass and eventually die.


  • Researchers working on the project
  • Non-profit organizations such as Water is Life
  • Manufacturers
  • People living in third world countries with limited access to clean water
  • Booksellers

Next Steps
The book is currently being distributed in certain countries such as Haiti and Kenya. I think the first step now is to see how effective this technology is. I am skeptical that people who will be using this book as a filtration device will gain much from the educational aspect of the design. Some metrics need to be put in place like the number of people drinking from a contaminated source to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this technology. This is key for the next step, which is to try to sell the idea to the WHO and other nonprofits that can potentially adopt this book into their distributive practices.

By: Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098)

Resources used:

Comment on “Heat to keep things cold and fresh? Solar powered micro-chillers for produce

Although a very interesting idea and I can see this being utilized in many equatorial countries, I see one key issue. A hefty portion of this investment must go to education, many of these farmers are either not equipt with smartphones or don’t have the experience with dealing with new technologies such as solar PV. These (I am assuming) will be operated by the farmers themselves, and they will need to be properly trained to able to maintain and operate these tools. Perhaps part of the sharing model you suggested, they could have employees dedicated to delivering, installing and maintaining the equipment. A percentage of the rent/lease fee can go into funding this.


One thought on “The Drinkable Book

  1. From a sustainable development standpoint, this is a great idea to implement solution for education and water sanitation. The pages are made from cellulose, which is a good alternative to using trees and perhaps more alternatives can be thought of for the future scalability of this project. I’m concerned about how we would know when a person is running out of pages. The estimate of a book lasting 4 years is vague and depends on the person. Perhaps pairing this with a microchip sensor that sends warnings to teams notifying them of a need in supply might be an effective solution to add? It would also be great if the educational information was available in multiple language, or perhaps in both the native tongue and English to improve language learning. 


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