When you’re on a bike ride out in the wild, it can be tough to find a place to replenish your water supply. However, a new self-filling water bottle could put an end to all that.

The Fontus device, which attaches to a bike frame, converts moisture from the air into drinkable water while the bicycle is in motion. Kristof Retezár, an industrial design student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, explains how this product could be used in the future to help water-starved communities.

What inspired you to create Fontus?

I wanted to concentrate my energies into trying to solve the increasing water problems of the world. After deep research into various techniques of water gathering, I was fascinated about the magical touch of getting water out of thin air. So I was hit by the idea of creating a water bottle that would "magically" fill itself.

Could you explain how it collects water?

Fontus absorbs the air into its system before separating the humidity contained in the air through condensation. The product is then stored as safe drinking water. The condensation process happens with the help of cooler and hydrophobic surfaces.

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Is the water generated by this process completely safe for human consumption?

Yes, it is. Condensed water is water in one of its purest states. Only heavily contaminated areas might have chemically bound toxins in the air which could be found in the water. This is why we are working on a prototype that has an extra filter capable of purifying water gathered in such areas. Of course, in the process of condensation, water loses its minerals. So for those that wish to drink mineral water, these can be reintroduced using mineral capsules which are dissolved in the gathered water. The Airo bottle has a special store chamber built into the bottle for these capsules.

How much time is required to fill the bottle completely?

First experiments suggest that under optimal climatic circumstances, one would be able to fill half a liter in an hour. 

Besides keeping cyclists hydrated, what else could this device be used for?

We designed the Fontus bottle in two variations: one is attachable to a bike and uses the air stream you generate while riding to push the air into the system. The other one looks like a conventional bottle and is completely independent from the bike. This one is perfect for hikers, travelers and campers. You can attach this bottle to your backpack while hiking and let it fill itself up.

In the future, could this device be used to help communities with water shortages?

Yes, of course! Besides these sporty outdoor functions, Fontus bottles might be part of households in regions with water stress. These bottles are a sort of mobile water well which could alleviate the difficult situations in regions with water scarcity.

- By Daniel Casillas