Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hop This

You hate ads, right? You download ad-blocking programs, you get DVR's that skip the commercials, you do pretty much everything in your power to remove as many ads from your life as possible. Understandable.

What if the ad made clean drinking water and you lived on the edge of the Atacama Desert? Because that's what a billboard in Lima, Peru, advertising the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) is doing. There may not be rain, but there is a high amount of humidity, often hitting 100%. That humidity is what students at UTEC figured out how to capture with the billboard. Through a process of reverse osmosis, the humidity goes from air filter to condenser to carbon filter to cooling tank to a faucet down at the base of the pole, where anyone who happens by can come along and fill up for free (itself a considerable draw; water from private sources is unregulated and expensive). There are five tanks in the billboard; each can hold 20 liters.

In the first three months, the ad agency that UTEC is working with, Mayo DraftFCB, has the production of the billboard at 9,450 liters. That's enough to accommodate a couple hundred families, but Lima's a big place and Peru's not a small country. One doesn't necessarily have to make new billboards, but the ones already present could certainly be looked at for a refurbishing.

People might be happier to see an ad then.

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