Nick Poteracki

Nick Poteracki from Lake Zurich, Ill., won first place in the Eye for Why, a Dyson international design competition, for his water bottle filtration system. Poteracki's Drop Portable Water Filtration Unit replaces the traditional water bottle with one that has filters near the spout.

"I am amazed how many people are paying for and drinking water from bottled water that often is packaged by candy and soda companies after it is obtained from a municipal water supply and simply purified. People are praying a premium for something that is almost always available for free, and the environment cannot sustain the waste in plastic and resources.

"Today's filtering water bottles don't do the job because the consumers' backwash often contaminates the filter, rendering it near useless, and the water is only filtered when the person is drinking."

Poteracki's micro-filtration membrane works as a perpendicular filtering element. Gravity and the pressurized environment, created by placing the watertight lid on both sides, aid the filtration process. Because the filter moves through the water, no space is lost to make room for a traditional charcoal filter and there is little risk of contaminating the filter.

"A user simply removes one of the lids by pressing the release buttons and then adds water on top of the filter," Poteracki says. "The lid is replaced and the unit is flipped, beginning the filtration process. The filter sinks to the bottom, purifying as it goes."

Contact nick here