The WaterSeer Collider wrapped on Friday, April 15. The collider was a partnership with Vici Labs with the goal to develop a prototype utilizing Vici Labs’ patented WaterSeer technology which uses condensation from the air to create potable water. Teams in the collider were challenged to maximize the collection of clean water with their designs.

We had 4 teams competing and the two top teams were highly competitive.

Team Stratus

Team Stratus

Team Stratus was the winner, with a modular design and passive system that resembles an open water lily.  While the design is distinctly plant-like, the team was also inspired by insects and reptiles as they researched how organisms that survive in arid environments maximize the collection of water from the air.  An innovative approach to air circulation, an aesthetic design and a strong marketing plan gave Team Stratus the edge.
Team Stratus: ($6000)
Ian St. Louis
Jack Purvis
Trevor Hansen
Theo Fedronic
Elliott Gutekunst

Second Place Team

Team Hydrolily

A close second place went to team Hydrolilly, who chose to use both active and passive systems to accelerate condensation.  This team employed the use of solar power to extend the working cycle of the device to maximize yield.  Strong project leadership and execution made this team very competitive.

Team Hydrolily ($5000)
Jimmy Huang
Jessica Chiu
Sean Xiao
YC Chen

Vici Labs hopes to utilize the prototype designs from the competition to revolutionize the way people live around the world. Their current focus is to create a device that will help reduce or eradicate the several hours that thousands of women spend walking every single day in developing countries where access to drinking water (that isn’t always sanitary) is limited.

Additionally, Vici Labs is exploring ways to make the WaterSeer device more attainable in areas where it is most needed such as through microfinancing or crowdfunding. One idea is to have a product that homeowners in developed countries may purchase which offsets the cost of supplying a WaterSeer device in a developing country.  So teams in the collider also had a second challenge of developing a prototype that could be dual-marketed to urban gardens and resorts as well as to NGOs working in clean-water scarce environments.

“The students were a delight; intense, imaginative, ambitious, brilliant, and very competitive,” said Don Zacherl, Founding Partner at Vici Labs, “Equally impressive were the prototypes, no two were alike in form, function, or approach. Three of the teams exceeded the yield challenge goal, and at least one solution has the potential to reach nine gallons per day. The UC Berkeley Collider is a radically valuable program that deserves continued strong support.”

Besides thriving by partnering with organizations like Vici Labs, the collider projects continue to succeed by relying on an extensive network of UC Berkeley experts and partnerships. “This project would not have been possible without the close partnership with the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation,” said David Law, the Sutardja Center’s Collider Workshop Instructor and Industry Fellow,”Their design experts provided each team with valuable advice on both design and fabrication and the provision of a “College Maker Pass” giving the teams access to workshops and labs across campus.”

Congratulations to all the teams that participated in the WaterSeer Collider project!

Disclaimer: Sutardja Center Collider Projects are academic exercises executed with the goal of helping students gain experience with real world industry projects. The Sutardja Center, Berkeley Engineering, and UC Regents do not necessarily claim to support the efficacy or claims made by any industry partners or their products which were worked on for this program.