Barefoot Solar Engineers
July 29, 2004 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Barefoot Solar Engineers. India's Barefoot College teaches poor and illiterate women to build and maintain rural solar systems in areas with little or no electric supply. [Via WorldChanging.]
posted by homunculus (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why would they need electricity to maintain solar systems?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
posted by fenriq at 11:20 AM on July 29, 2004

"They say we's backwards, but them big city solar systems a'full'a commies and queers. Naw, I was born in Alpha Centauri, and I reckon I'll die here!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:34 AM on July 29, 2004

Nice link, thanks.
posted by theora55 at 2:43 PM on July 29, 2004

I'm always struck by the extent to which some of the most promising, hopeful low to intermediate tech solutions to developing World problems pop up on Metafilter........and promptly get ignored.

Like The Simputer

"The Simputer is a low cost portable alternative to PCs, by which the benefits of IT can reach the common man.

It has a special role in the third world because it ensures that illiteracy is no longer a barrier to handling a computer.

The key to bridging the digital divide is to have shared devices that permit truly simple and natural user interfaces based on sight, touch and audio.

The Simputer meets these demands through a browser for the Information Markup Language (IML). IML has been created to provide a uniform experience to users and to allow rapid development of solutions on any platform.

Affordable Computing

The projected cost of the Simputer is about Rs 9000 at large volumes. But even this is beyond the means of most citizens. The Smart Card feature that the Simputer provides enables the Simputer to be shared by a community.

A local community such as the village panchayat, the village school, a kiosk, a village postman, or even a shopkeeper should be able to loan the device to individuals for some length of time and then pass it on to others in the community. The Simputer, through its Smart Card feature allows for personal information management at the individual level for an unlimited number of users.

The impact of this feature coupled with the rich connectivity of the Simputer can be dramatic. Applications in diverse sectors such as micro banking, large data collection, agricultural information and as a school laboratory is now made possible at an affordable price.

The Simputer Trust

The Simputer Trust is the coming together of academics and technologists from industry with a broad imperative of harnessing the potential of the Simputer for the benefit of all sections of society. The vision of this non-profit trust is to promote the Simputer, not as an end product but as an evolving platform for social change.

posted by troutfishing at 8:07 PM on July 29, 2004

New Device Cleans Water With Light, Could Save Lives In Third World

BERKELEY, CA--Scientists at the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a simple disinfection device that uses light to cheaply rid water supplies of cholera, typhoid and dysentery. The technology could save lives in third-world countries, where such waterborne diseases kill more than 400 children every hour.

The device takes water from a source--for instance, a community hand pump -- and passes it through a stainless steel disinfection chamber. Inside the chamber, the water is bathed in ultraviolet (UV) light, which kills viruses, molds and other pathogens by inactivating their DNA.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:40 AM on July 30, 2004

Great stuff. Thanks, homunculus.
posted by Shane at 6:22 AM on July 30, 2004

Foldy - in a good example of parallel invention, there are already dirt cheap low/appropriate tech solutions invented that do just that - filtering, straining, and then at last disinfecting with UV.

I heard about it at a conference last year. I can't remember the name of the process though. It's in my heaps of notes.
posted by troutfishing at 9:15 AM on July 30, 2004

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