Cody Friesen had a big dream, and with Zero Mass Water he is making it come true. His team has figured out how to extract water from air, using nothing more than a solar electricity-powered panel. This is the first real update to the creation of drinking water since the Roman era, he says, and it could lead to everyone getting a perfect cup of water.

Zero Mass Water showed how its Source Hydropanel can pull water out of thin air at CES 2019, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. The panel creates conditions that allow condensation, akin to rain, to happen even in arid climates, said Friesen, who sat down with me in a tent outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center for an interview.

It’s one of those rare technologies that, rather than consuming resources and hurting the environment, actually marshals the abundant resources of air and sunlight and turns them into something we all need — potable water. Friesen told me that his family of four in Arizona can now generate enough water for their needs — 600 bottles a month — from just two Hydropanels.

And Zero Mass Water has now created its own real-time analytics sensor, Source Informed, to measure the production of water in its panels around the world, from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Philippines. Investors include Macquarie Capital Venture Studio with R/GA, which was run by my recently departed friend Gene Mauro, who was the head of the R/GA investment team.

It was an inspiring conversation that reminded me of my favorite science fiction novel, Frank Herbert’s Dune, where the goal was to turn a desert planet into a green one. That is also why I considered this to be one of the best of CES.