What? Are you MAD? Drinking purified sweat?!?

Many folks, including ourselves, read about a device called the Sweat Machine that converts the sweat from a piece of clothing into potable drinking water and… gagged at first. Then we remembered other recycled water options we’d read about recently… and gagged even worse.

See: Innovative and Scary Water Technology. But we digress.

UNICEF and a Swedish engineer by the name of Andreas Hammar joined forces to build a machine that uses a heated centrifuge-like apparatus to separate the liquid sweat from the garment (usually a shirt) and then filters the extract using a fine porous filter media that allows only purified steam to pass through.

The steam then gets cooled and collected for consumption. One wet shirt apparently produces about 10 mL of potable drinking water.

Is the machine practical for daily use?

UNICEF had the Sweat Machine built not for implementation in water poor regions of the world but rather as part of a publicity campaign designed to call attention to the plight of nearly a billion people around the world who do not have direct access to safe, clean drinking water.

One article on the Sweat Machine stated that of that nearly 1 billion people about 125 million of them had not, yet, reached the age of 5.

Regarding the practicality of building more Sweat Machines for distribution, UNICEF and Andreas both indicated that far more people would receive much needed help with their water quality problems if society invested in basic and far less costly technologies (i.e. water purification tablets) to turn non-potable local water into potable water.

Would we personally drink other people’s purified sweat?

Given the option of water from our faucet or water extracted from other people’s sweat, and we hope that we will always HAVE the option of turning to our faucet for a cold drink of water, we think we would pass on purified sweat.

This does not, however, mean we think devices like the Sweat Machine will not have a place in this world at some point because…

  • The size of our fresh water supply keeps decreasing
  • The human population keeps increasing
  • Plenty of science points toward our planet’s temperature rising slowly

Yep. If things on our planet continue as they have, long the path that they have on our planet we will need all the creative ways we can find to keep hydrated before too long!