Nov. 21, 2011 at 12:58 PM ET
Imagine a pot or jar that you could carry to any water source in the world, fill it up and be guaranteed a container full of clean and safe drinking water.
Such a pot is the goal of a new a challenge issued Nov. 17 to inventors in developing nations by the University of South Florida's Patel School of Global Sustainability.
Contaminated water causes more than half of the world's diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhea, killing an estimated 1.5 million children a year, according to world health officials.
The "Smart Pot" challenge is for a technologically advanced, yet low-cost and easy-to-use water purification system that fits seamlessly with the pots and cans already used to collect water.
The treatment of the water will happen automatically at the point of collection. Users, who already have difficulty retrieving the water, won't have to take any extra steps.
Philanthropist Kiran Patel believes a prototype of the Smart Pot is feasible within a year.
The challenge is open to applicants from academic and research institutions, consulting firms and NGOs registered and located within developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Pre-proposal submissions are accepted through March 2012. Five short-listed applicants will get $8,000 to prepare full proposals. The winner will get an additional $100,000 to build a prototype.
For more information, check out the Patel School of Global Sustainability.
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