Lima is a city of more than 7 million people, in a difficult and somewhat ironic position. It is situated in a coastal desert. This means its rainfall is perhaps ½ inch per year, yet its proximity to the ocean means its humidity levels average over 80%. In a city in desperate need of water, the air is full of water. And this led to some exceptional creativity.
The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) wanted a splashy introduction to its application period. It contracted with ad agency Mayo DraftFCB and the results were epic. They decided to build a billboard that would highlight UTEC’s technology by converting Lima’s humid air to potable water. Take a look.
There are so many things I love about this project. It takes one need (advertising) and addresses it while serving a much more pressing need (water). It takes a familiar object—a billboard—and envisions it as something entirely new. It also has a lot of potential as inspiration for technology-rich science projects.
Imagine a school assignment in which students were challenged to take some principle(s) from the science curriculum—electrical circuits, simple machines, magnetic forces, thermal transfer, etc.—and envision a scenario in which the principle could be used to solve a real-world problem. Where in the world do people need new ways to light their homes, wash their clothes, or retain heat? How might that problem be addressed? The initial assignment might require a paper-and-pencil design only, but who knows what could follow? I’d love to hear about it!