Jul 312011

As a young girl growing up in Massachusetts, Kim Hoffman spent many summers on her parent’s sailboat.

Sometimes she would stare at the water and think, “There’s got to be a way to turn the seemingly endless ocean into viable drinking water.”

In graduate school at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, she designed a life raft that could do just that. Hoffman’s Sea Kettle, which recently made the shortlist of this year’s James Dyson Award competition, could mean the difference between life and death for a person stranded at sea.

The Sea Kettle is meant to be an insulated, sturdy shelter able to turn sea water into fresh water. A person using the raft operates hand pumps within the cabin in order to draw sea water into a plastic reservoir on the roof. Heat from the sun causes the water to evaporate. The salt-free water vapor from the evaporated seawater can be captured and collected in containers within the raft’s walls.

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