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Fake organs to help humans save H20 (pictures)

How do you design a water bottle for the end of the world? For a large-scale art exhibition, Japanese design firm Takram comes up with a unique answer.

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Edward Moyer
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Artificial organs

Never mind the zombie apocalypse and the robo-revolution. What if environmental calamity comes to pass and we find ourselves faced with the reality of severely limited resources? Say, for example, drinkable H20?

That's the question that was put to the team at Japanese design-engineering firm Takram,, which has worked with, among others, Toshiba, NTT Docomo, and Toyota. Their novel response? Forget about fashioning some sort of high-tech water bottle and instead create artificial organs that could be implanted in humans to make their bodies more efficiently use what water is available.

As noted by The Creators Project, the resulting Shenu: Hydrolemic System is a conceptual work put together by Takram for Documenta (13), a large-scale exhibition of contemporary art that takes place in Germany every five years and is happening this summer.

Among other goodies, the setup includes "nasal cavity inserts" meant to decrease the amount of moisture lost when we exhale, and a "renal fecular dehydrator," designed to make it really uncomfortable to sit down be implanted near the rectum and squeeze every last drop of usable water out of our solid waste.

"Informed by both the sciences and projections of technological capabilities, the set of artificial organs work synchronously to regulate the water loss so that people with these organs can consume less water to survive compared to those without," Takram says on its Web site.

Click through the slideshow to check out the components of this unique "water bottle."

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The whole shebang

A drawing showing the system in its entirety: a "rubedo" candy, the nasal cavity inserts, the "arterial-jugular heat exchanger," the "heat irradiant neck collar," the urine concentrator, and the renal fecular dehydrator.
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In the flesh

Realistic models of the gear.
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Healthy candy

Hard-shelled, liquid-centered Rubedo candies. Five of these contain the required daily intake of nutrients and 32 milliliters of water.
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Nose nodules

The nasal cavity inserts are meant to decrease the loss of moisture that occurs when we breathe out. Moist air from the lungs is condensed in these devices and returned to the system when we inhale.
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Throat lozenges

The arterial-jugular heat exchangers are implanted in the neck and work with the neck collar (next slide) to inhibit perspiration. They also produce electricity from excess body temperature.
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High-tech necklace

The heat irradiant neck collar converts the electrical energy generated by the arterial-jugular heat exchangers back into heat and radiates it. The collar and exchangers are presumably tools for removing the need for water (in perspiration) from the process the human body uses to cool itself.
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Building a better bladder

The urine concentrator, aka the hydrolemic bladder, is a microcosmic water filtration and uric concentration plant. It's meant to decrease the amount of water needed to expel waste in liquid form, and to let us recycle urine as usable water.
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Water from waste

The renal fecular dehydrator is implanted near the rectum. Takram says it "works to elongate fecal duration in the large intestine and squeeze out any remaining water."
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Handy carrying case

Just find a good surgeon on Yelp, show up with this suitcase, and in no time you'll be all set to handle the apocalypse.

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