Agroup of students from a university in Bogotá, Colombia, noticed a troubling pattern in the nearby city of Alameda del Rio: it flooded four times a year despite having a storm water drainage system. Compelled to help Alameda del Rio and other communities worldwide affected by worsening flood conditions, the team created Bryosoil, a flood prevention system that took the first place prize for student teams in the 2019
The students didn’t have to look very far to find inspiration. Páramo (pictured above) is an alpine tundra ecosystem located south of Bogotá in the Northern Andes of South America, home to one of nature’s best water management masters, the bryophytes. These moss-like, non-vascular plants capture, retain, and evaporate water—strategies that were mimicked by the team in developing their winning concept.
Watchtower Robotics Wins!Twenty percent of the world’s water is wasted due to leaky pipes. That’s enough water to serve an additional 1 billion people and comes at a huge cost in terms of energy and excessive infrastructure repair. Watchtower Robotics, this year’s $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize® winner, set out to address the problem of assessing water utility pipes for leaks, looking to marine organisms to inform their solution.
How does the window plant photosynthesize when its leaves are underground?
The tips of its leaves are translucent and sit at the soil surface, allowing light to shine down into the leaves. Each leaf contains crystals that help reflect and transmit light. Read more about how the window plant works here.