Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have replicated the structure of the Namibia beetle (Beetle fog-catcher inspires engineers) that allows it to extract moisture from the air. A team lead by Robert Cohen and Michael Rubner have been able to pattern surfaces with hydrophilic and hydrophobic nanoparticles. The ability to channel and move liquids is of interest to the US military as a potential self-decontaminating surfaces. Other applications are cooling circuits without pumps or controlling flow within chemical sensors.
The story was also reported in Technology Review (Super Plastic Both Attracts and Repels Water) without referencing the inspiration for the research. This article mentions the potential for obtaining water in dry climates at yields 10 times more effective than existing techniques. Adding an anti-bacterial agent could clean the collected water.