The winner of the 2011 James Dyson Award is an entry from an Australian engineer who came up with a low-cost, self-powered way of extracting water from the air.
Swinburne University of Technology's Edward Linacre was inspired by the Australian drought and the humble Namib beetle, leading him to come up with Airdrop.
The ingenious design lowers air temperature by piping it through underground pipes to extract the water through condensation.
James Dyson said, "Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer's armoury.
"Airdrop shows how simple, natural principles like the condensation of water, can be applied to good effect through skilled design and robust engineering.
"Young designers and engineers like Edward will develop the simple, effective technology of the future – they will tackle the world's biggest problems and improve lives in the process."
The award comes with a £10,000 prize – which Linacre will use to work on the Airdrop.
He said, "Winning the award's £10,000 prize will mean I can develop and test the Airdrop system. It has the potential to help farmers around the world and I'm up for the challenge of rolling it out"
Swinburne University will also receive £10,000 to continue bringing engineers through.