The $3 Life-Saving Straw

Forget AIDS vaccines (it's figurative, people!)-- If these filters designed as cheap and handy straws reach their intended targets, many more millions (a billion actually) of lives will be saved, people's health repaired, and lives improved. Water contamination negatively impacts the health of increasingly large populations in developing countries, and fresh water shortages will effect even developed countries in the coming decades.

The LifeStraw is a recent invention, offered for $3, that makes water drinkable and safe for humans by removing bacteria and parasites. The creator, Alexandre Doyen explained to the BBC: "It uses mesh filtration down to six microns, halogenated resin for disinfection, and granular reacted carbon, which improves the taste of the water and finishes off the disinfection process."

link: scroll down for the LifeStaw, along the way you'll see some other cool inventions recognized at Wired magazine's new technology convention, NextFest. more

[I'll have to pull up the stats from the UN Development to substantiate this with those classy numbers everyone loves to gloss over but know are there, so you know (or, rather, think) I'm not bluffing.]