Technologies For Everyday Tasks in Developing CountriesIn countries with poor economies, there’s often no way for people with low income to get access to essential amenities or conveniences. Whether the lack of electricity, water, or basic information regarding crops and harvest times, problems are widespread and varied. But people continue to find solutions that are simple and affordable when it seems there are no options. Here are some examples of simple, useful technologies for everyday tasks in developing countries and communities.

9 Technologies For Everyday Tasks in Developing Countries

  1. Sproxil provides an online, easy to access verification method for pharmacies and drug sellers. Counterfeit drugs are a big problem in developing countries, with few ways to check for quality. Sproxil works with factories, providing easy to check codes on genuine shipments. A seller can simply verify the code through Sproxil’s app to ensure the quality of delivered drugs.
  2. EthioSIS is an information gathering and mapping system devoted to soil quality. It has mapped out soil quality in several areas in Ethiopia with the intent to provide accurate information to farmers and government officials. This is accomplished using satellite technology.
  3. BRCK is a compact, low cost, durable router. Built by a company operating in Nairobi, there have been several iterations of this technology in order to bring the internet to every corner of the continent. The same company has created Moja, a free wifi platform accessed through a BRCK and the KIO tablet.
  4. An effective solution to a localized problem, UTEC created a billboard that filters and cleans polluted air. Located near its campus in Peru, it stands in an area where air pollution is a constant, extreme problem. The billboard does the work of many trees, many times over, the billboard itself advertises an engineering education.
  5. Of these nine technologies for everyday tasks in developing countries, GravityLight may be the most universally useful. GravityLight is a simple concept for providing light to houses that don’t have electricity. A generator attached to a chain holds weight. The weight winched up on the chain turns the generator as it descends, providing electric power to a small light, usually enough for 20 minutes. Easy to use and re-use, it can be hung from a wall or ceiling anywhere.
  6. The SeabinV5 (version 5) is the brainchild of the Seabin project. This trashcan has a built-in pump, designed to filter out trash from ocean water. The floating SeabinV5 adjusts to oil-absorbing pads and requires easy cleaning.  The electrical cost of maintaining the pump is equivalent to $1 a day.
  7. The Beacon app acts as a search and rescue in local areas. Rescue agencies launch a unique platform, kept up to date about their area of coverage. In areas without a consistent or fast ambulance presence, it can organize and bring together first responders quickly, which is invaluable for smaller communities.
  8. The Hippo Water Roller does not actually take the shape of a hippo. Rather, the water container is cylindrical with a large handle for rolling, either by pushing or pulling. In many smaller communities, getting fresh water often means traveling several miles and carrying it back with a bucket. The Hippo Roller’s ability to transport water easily is invaluable to these communities.
  9. The Bandicoot is a robot designed for sewer cleaning in India. The hazardous waste it is designed to clean and dispose of is very harmful to humans. Also, it takes a human worker two hours to properly clean an area the Bandicoot can cover in forty-five minutes. The robot is so simple to operate and maintain, that those whose job it was previously to clean the sewers can now operate the Bandicoot.

Technologies for everyday tasks in developing countries must be simple, affordable and able to spread easily. These are only a few examples of evolving tech that brings the world closer to ending global poverty. Creative thinking towards a small scale problem can lead to massive changes on a global scale.

– Mason Sansonia
Photo: Flickr

Receiving only a half-inch of precipitation annually, the 7.6 million residents of Lima, Peru are in the midst of a serious water shortage. One point two million Limans do not have running water at all, and 700,000 people have no access to clean water for drinking or bathing. With advanced climate change affecting the natural water sources of the Andes, engineers from Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) have turned to science, and specifically water billboards, for an answer.

Like a magician pulls a rabbit from a hat, they’ve figured out a way to pull water from thin air.

The process of scientific magic occurs inside a billboard in Lima’s Bujama District, erected by a group of UTEC engineers in partnership with marketers from the Mayo Publicidad ad agency. The billboard takes advantage of Lima’s high degree of humidity, nearly 90 percent in the summer months, and transforms this moisture into usable water.

When moist air hits the billboard, five condensers cool it and convert it into liquid form. The newly created water goes through reverse-osmosis purification and then flows into a 20-liner storage tank at the billboard’s base. The filtration system is simple and straightforward, though not entirely self-sufficient, because it uses electricity from Lima’s power lines.

Active for 3 months, the billboard has had a significant effect. It has produced nearly 2,500 gallons of water, averaging 26 gallons a day. According to the UTEC engineers involved, this is equivalent to the water consumption of hundreds of families per month.

Efforts have been made in the past to magically pull water from the air. Most notably Eole, a French company, installed a wind turbine in Abu Dhabi that was said to generate more than 370 gallons of water a day. The commercial launch of this technology, however, came at too high of a price.

That’s the genius of UTEC’s water billboard – if the technology expands, it will be inexpensive to install thanks to funding from advertisers. The inaugural billboard costs only $1,200 to construct, and advertises both UTEC and the technology itself. UTEC has not gone unrewarded, since the erection of the billboard enrollment has substantially increased. It hopes that companies will see UTEC’s own results and seek to advertise on water billboards themselves.

It is unclear whether more billboards like this one will be installed throughout Lima, but UTEC’s water billboard has successfully started new discussions about providing clean water. Advertising can be more than a commercial tool; it has potential as an effective method of helping those in need.

– Katie Pickle

Sources: Popular Mechanics, Time
Photo: Fast Coexist