Bill Gates wants your ideas — ideas to improve the one thing most people probably don’t like to think about until they have to: the toilet.
That’s right, there’s a global problem when it comes to the bathroom throne: not everyone has access to one. More specifically, they lack access to clean sanitation services.
In July 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an initiative to reinvent the toilet, along with $265 million in grants spread across a variety of efforts to spur greater innovation in sanitation.
For the past two days, Aug. 14-15, the Foundation has been hosting the Reinvent the Toilet Fair, where, aside from generating synthetic feces, the event featured a number of inventions — all related to sanitation.
The winners were announced Tuesday. The California Institute of Technology received the first prize of $100,000 for a solar-powered toilet design and generates energy in the form of hydrogen and electricity. Loughborough University won the $60,000 second-place prize for a toilet that produces charcoal, minerals and clean water by product. The $40,000 third place prize went to the University of Toronto for developing a toilet that turns human waste into clean water and other clean resources.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology and Austrian design firm EOOS received special recognition and $40,000 for “their outstanding design of a toilet user interface,” according to a release.
So, what would your reinvented toilet look like? Let us know in the comments. And share your ideas for how best to recharge American innovation via our new Crowd Sourced tool.
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