August 15, 2012; Source: NPR

Earlier this week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation convened a “Reinvent the Toilet Fair” in Seattle. The Gates Foundation had delivered grants to eight universities to develop a new type of toilet that can provide a reliable system for dealing with human waste without using the large amount of resources typically required by septic systems. Of the eight universities, the trophy went to the California Institute of Technology, which had developed a toilet that harnesses solar power to produce hydrogen and electricity. This video from the Gates Foundation describes the problem, noting, “four out of 10 people worldwide don’t have a safe way to poop,” which leads to disease:

The video ends with the tagline, “Reinventing the toilet: Let’s get our sh*t together and do it.” Gates hopes to implement one of these new toilets in a community that could use it within the next year or two. –Mike Keefe-Feldman