1. Mobile Phone
More than any other gadget, the mobile phone is the most effective technological weapon against poverty. This revolutionary piece of technology is being used to better the lives of the poor. A cell phone gives access to literacy programs, in which anyone with an inexpensive cell phone can dial a number to access a library of bilingual audio lessons. A mobile literacy program provided by BBC Janala in Bangladesh has allowed children from extremely rural areas to receive foreign language instruction that otherwise would have been unavailable. Just one of the many ways the mobile phone has contributed to poverty reduction, mobile literacy programs are on the rise.
The LifeStraw is a personal water filtration device that enables individuals to drink clean water directly from a contaminated water source. The small handheld tubing apparatus was designed by the Swiss company Vestergaard Frandsen for distribution in developing countries during times of crisis. 900,000 of the filters were distributed in Western Kenya in 2011, providing almost one eighth of the Kenyan population with safe drinking water for three to five years.
3. Solar Suitcase
Developed by Dr. Laura Stachel in 2008, the Solar Suitcase harnesses the power of the sun to provide a portable power source for obstetricians in Uganda and Nigeria. Many of these obstetricians are working in undersupplied medical situations. Stachel’s invention provides physicians with proper lighting and an electrical source to conduct medical procedures such as blood transfusions and ultrasounds. The solar suitcase is a vital piece of technology in a country like Uganda, where 35,000 infants are lost each year during childbirth.
The Cardiopad is a computerized gadget similar to an iPad or Tablet that provides the platform necessary to perform EKGs remotely in underdeveloped areas. Although currently it is only used in Cameroon, the Cardiopad is diffusing rapidly into neighboring countries, positively impacting the cardiac health of rural African peoples.
5. Charging Shoes
Charging shoes are the creation of Kenyan inventor Anthony Mutua who recognized the need for a renewable energy source to charge cell phones. The soles of Mutua’s shoes are outfitted with small crystal chips that create electricity via pressure of the wearer’s weight against the ground. A cable emerging from the shoe is connected to the mobile phone in the individual’s pocket, thus facilitating a cost-effective charging cycle.
– Josh Forgét