It's 2013, and we live in an age where tiny computer lenses can be worn on our faces, spaceships travel to Mars, and five million new cars are built each month. Yet, over 750 million people struggle to find a safe glass of drinking water every day.

Scientists in India are harnessing the power of nanotechnology to rectify this water gap, according to a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their water purification system, which resembles an everyday Brita® filter, uses nanoparticles to remove bacteria, viruses, and other harmful containmants from drinking water.

Each jug holds about 10 liters, which the authors estimate could suit the daily needs for a family of five in rural India. The system doesn't require electricitiy and would cost less than $2.50 per year.

The nanoparticles in the filter are composed of silver ions - another component that mimics Brita® filters - that zap bacteria and viruses. The filter also contain nanomaterials that eliminate toxic compounds like arsenic, lead, and iron.

The team is now field testing the device in India, where it could bring clean water and more jobs to impoverished regions.

"Dissemination of this technology in various forms, such as cartridges and sachets can generate large employment opportunities in the villages and contribute to the local economy", wrote the authors.

[via Livescience]