Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a panel that creates drinking water from sunlight and air.

An Arizona State University professor last week won the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize for inventing "a hydropanel that extracts drinking water from sunlight and air," said Hayley Ringle at the Phoenix Business Journal. Cody Friesen, a professor of materials science and engineering, founded Zero Mass Water in 2015 as a way to "provide clean drinking water in communities, refugee camps, government offices, hotels, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and homes around the world."

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His patented device uses powerful desiccants that can soak up drinkable water from air with humidity as low as 5 percent, with no external electricity required. It’s being employed in 33 countries after raising $25 million in venture capital funding last October. Now Friesen can add "the largest cash prize for U.S. inventions" to the bank.