Bill Gates Starts Toilet Search

    Bill Gates, third from right, looks at a device that uses solar energy to treat human waste, as he tours the "Reinventing the Toliet" Fair, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Seattle, which is part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet for the 2.6 billion people around the world who don't have access to modern sanitation. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

    Microsoft founder and history's biggest philanthropist Bill Gates has a new obsession: toilets. He and his wife's foundation launched a "Reinvent the Toilet Fair" in Seattle on Thursday, awarding prizes for new sanitation innovations. "Toilets are extremely important for public health and, when you think of it, even human dignity," Gates said in a statement. The fair attracted hundreds of investors, inventors, and researchers, and the California Institute of Technology walked away with first place, for a solar-powered toilet. "Inventing new toilets is one of the most important things we can do to reduce child deaths and disease and improve people's lives," Gates said.

    Read it at Agence France-Presse