Kate's Blog
News and views about Roamer and educational robotics

"Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink" - a thing of the past?

I am really excited by graphene.  There I’ve admitted it.  I first cam across it a few years ago when E was doing DT GCSE and used it in one of her designs (she obviously didn’t make it – just designed it).  If you don’t know, Graphene is a material that is 1 carbon atom thick.  It is flexible, as strong as steel as conductive as silicon and has the potential to transform the world.  It was discovered/developed at Manchester University and now teams around the world are developing its potential.  Last week it was announced that another UK university team had developed a graphene filter that could change sea water into potable water.  This is mind blowing.  We can get deserts to bloom, eradicate poverty from drought and crop failure. And it will solve the ticking time bomb of future water shortages. This could change the future.

Last summer we had the privilege of meeting Aaron Cable (Vince’s grandson) who at the tender age of 14 decided that he needed to do something to reduce the problems of water shortages (he’d already been working on getting shops to give their out of date produce to the homeless from the age of 9).  So he started Water Explorers, a worldwide initiative that got schoolchildren to think about water and the problems much of the world has in getting enough (either through inadequate or polluted water supply).  We worked with him to develop a Roamer project where Roamer was a salmon going up a river to spawn but didn’t make it because of the pollution.  The students had to solve the problems at each pollution point to allow the salmon to survive and spawn. It really made students think about the problems of pollution and look for solutions.

So if graphene really can make drinking water from sea water and our children can crack pollution then the future really does look brighter for the world. In terms of water supply anyway.

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