College students’ tears converted into water to end drought
ITHACA, NY – The town’s water department issued a warning earlier this year, encouraging locals to conserve water resources as much as possible, saying Ithaca had only thirty days left of useable water. This has continued to cause concern amongst locals and students alike, but one Cornell University graduate said she has a solution. Drawing from her extensive research in bioengineering, Kalyani Chopra claimed to have come up with an invention that converts the tears of students and unemployed college graduates into potable water.
“I got the idea when I thought of the sheer amount of student debt I am going to pay over the course of the rest of my life,” Chopra said. “At first, the idea made me cry, but then I thought of how I could use these tears to my advantage.”
Chopra then drew out blueprints for his device, which she calls the Tear Ducts. Less a contraption than an installment, the Tear Ducts would be filters made of and attached to the air ducts of buildings where grads and soon-to-be grads reside. When the subsequent crying erupts, sensors on the ducts detect an increase of salinity in the room, and begin to suck up the tears from the air, before they even have a chance to hit the floor. The tears are then run through a filter made of polyamide fiber, which separates the salty sadness from the sweet hydrating water we’ve all come to know, love and so desperately need.
The device hasn’t been crafted yet, but Chopra’s blueprints are gaining attention in academic and entrepreneurial communities alike. They have also gained the interest of startup companies like Rev and Ithaca Generator. Local entrepreneur Chet Kalinowski said the young inventor can make “a lot of money,” provided she could come up with the necessary funding.
“A college town like this, in 2016, is probably flooding with existential angst,” Kalinowski said. “And when life gives you lemons, you turn those lemons into liquid gold.”
Chopra said she plans to use her invention not as a means for profit, but rather she wants to work with the town of Ithaca and local colleges to get a Tear Duct installed in every building at Ithaca College, Cornell University and Tompkins Community College. At a recent town hall meeting, between heated debates over which white Cornell alum will have their name given to new park benches, Chopra gave a talk on her plans for the Tear Ducts. She outlined a budget plan, as well as a yearly projection of her startup’s goals for the next three years. By spring graduation of 2020, Chopra plans to have her invention implemented by all three Tompkins county colleges and universities.
Update: A few days the meeting, Sawdust staff caught up with Chopra, who said her plan was unfortunately not approved by the county board because there were apparently not enough engineers fit for the job.
Tylor Colby is a fourth-year writing major who, after graduating will have plenty of fuel for the Tear Duct as well. You can email them at [email protected].