A recent invention called the Slingshot could provide freshwater to those with some of the most limited access. Inventor Dean Kamen, best known as the man behind the Segway, has partnered with Coca-Cola to place his machines throughout developing nations in Africa and Central America in hopes of eliminating the millions of deaths each year related to waterborne disease.
More than 783 million people don't have access to clean water and 37 percent don't have access to sanitation facilities, facts highlighted by the UN during World Water Day last week.
The device can take any form of potentially contaminated liquid and distill it into something safe to drink -- by evaporating the water and then condensing the steam, leaving pathogens behind. Kamen even joked in a 2008 interview with Steven Colbert that the Slingshot could sanitize a 50-gallon drum of urine.
A recent documentary short directed by Paul Lazarus and featuring Kamen won third place in GE's Focus Forward Film Festival, which highlights leading innovators around the world. The film was also screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival.