Drinking a book

Great design needs to be communicated well in order to be effective. How do you get a water filtration system out there for everyone to see, talk about – and use? A collaborative effort has come up with a great concept: a book that teaches the reader about water filtration while actually filtering water at the same time.

The key component to the book is the specially produced rusty-coloured pages. Each one is coated with silver nano-particles, which are known for their bacteria-killing properties. Pages can be torn out and each one can filter enough liquid to supply a 100 liters, or about 30 days’ worth of drinking water.

As water is passed through the page, bacteria absorb the silver particles, which destroy the organisms from within, rendering them harmless.

Texts are printed on the pages that explain how to use the filters in two languages, English and Swahili: the first run of the books is intended for use in Kenya. The silver particles kill up to 99.9% of all water-borne bacteria, including E. coli and typhoid, which results in water that is vastly cleaner than what many people in the world have access to.

With 48 pages in each volume, one book can supply up to four years of clean water. The book’s cover is a 3D printed case which doubles as the filtration unit, so the package is a complete system for healthy drinking. The text is printed in edible ink, too.

Non-profit organisation Water is Life worked with an ad agency DDB North America and researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia to create a product that does for users what it preaches.

Breakthrough tech or clever marketing? A bit of both, but for a project like this, that can only be a good thing.

Watch a video of the Drinkable Book here.