A new water purifier the size of a computer chip has the potential to save millions of lives every year. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new water purifier which uses magnetic fields to remove contaminants and clean water, thereby removing parasites responsible for water-born illness. Scientist Jongyonn Han from MIT co wrote Nature Nanotechnology, an indepth article which promotes the innovative water purifier, no larger than a modern postage stamp. Han states: "This can remove bacteria and other particles from seawater and brackish water without suffering any clogging issues. This won't be a big deal in the U.S. But in places like India, where the water is brackish and getting saltier, this could be important."
Computer chip technology inspired the tiny purifier made of soft silicone. The device is clear with the exception of black microchannel slashes necessary for the magnetic field. Dirty water channels through the purifier, the magnetic field separates impurities like salt ions, bacteria, and other culprits by attracting particles with a positive or negative charge, and the resulting clean water is an efficient, inexpensive leap forward for technology. The purifier sufficiently removed 99 percent of a test mixture of water consisting of North Atlantic seawater, blood, proteins, and small plastic particles. The technology of the device causes waste particles to travel in a direction opposite of clean water thereby eliminating the possibility of clogging. The only drawback is the purifier can reportedly only clean "tiny amounts of water" through one small channel. MIT researchers plan on expanding the product's capabilities over the next two years to effectively channel over 16 channels of water through "an eight inch wafer" and requiring only 60 watts of solar energy to work as effectively as Brita pitchers. The device will not replace larger scale "reverse osmosis desalination plants" but it can outperform other small scale purifiers.