There are gadgets that make life more fun, and then there are gadgets that make life possible. The LifeStraw from Denmark's Vestergaard Frandsen Group has the potential to fall into the latter category. A device about the size of a large pen or drinking straw, the LifeStraw is a complete water purification kit that draws its power from the person sucking down the water. The LifeStraw is the product of ten years of development work, based on the goal of creating an efficient, affordable water-purification system for the developing world, where water-borne illnesses are a major killer. When produced in quantity, each LifeStraw — which uses a combination of mesh filters, iodine-impregnated beads and active carbon to remove particulate matter and bacteria — is expected to cost under $2 and be able to provide a year's worth of pure drinking water. When and if this hits the market, we hope to see some worthy charity distributing them by the millions (you listening, Bill and Melinda?).
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]