HOUSTON, Texas — In the past 10 years, the market for new technologies aiming to diminish global poverty has gone through the roof. Tackling problems as massive as water cleanliness, the energy crisis and childhood diseases, these inventions have the potential to change and even save millions of lives. Here are 10 gadgets that are helping the world’s poor
The Wello Water Wheel
The Wello team’s trip to India and subsequent first-hand experience with importing water miles a day led to this gadget’s conception in September 2011. Similar to the Hippo Roller and Q-drum, The Wello Water Wheel poses the question, “Why carry water when you can roll it?” The wheel allows up to 50 liters of water to be wheeled, almost tripling the typical amount lugged before its inception. This ability to roll or drag water also saves the body the toll it would have taken to carry it.
“Luci” Solar Lamp
The “Luci” light is an easy-to-use, high-quality micro solar lantern and task light. It was developed by the people of MPOWERD, who fight for solar equality. They aspire to eradicate Energy Poverty by providing humanity with affordable, renewable sources of light and power to enrich lives.
Luci is elegant, lightweight (only four ounces), maintenance-free and waterproof as well. Chargeable under direct sunlight or under incandescent light, Luci is the perfect portable lantern for anyone craving light at a fingers touch. What’s even more is its ability to fully charge in just eight hours, which yields a minimum of 6-12 hours of light. Click here to buy your very own Luci Light.
A reported six out of seven million people in the world have access to a cell phone, making these gadgets truly monumental and powerful for developing countries in many aspect of their daily life. First and foremost, the spread and growing availability of cell phones has greatly improved overall education, granting easy access to quizzes, materials and trips for teachers, students and parents. The spread of cellular technology has greatly improved survey and polling responses as well in countries with little to no means of communication. These surveys thrive on the best accuracy possible in order to implement a proper plan and destruction of materials in situations such as health crises, epidemics or conflict. Lastly, cell phones have also been an extremely groundbreaking tool for agriculture. They allow farmers to gain access to market prices before traveling long distances to markets and even allow them to negotiate prices with potential buyers from the comfort of home.
This soccer ball is more than your typical rubber bladder lined with nylon. It is an energy-harnessing soccer ball developed by Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman during their junior year at Harvard University. The SOCCKET soccer ball captures the kinetic energy generated during a game of soccer and turns this kinetic energy into electrical energy in the form of a lamp that can be used at will later. What started off as a school project has quickly turned into a global sensation. The SOCCKET is currently sold in Mexico and the U.S., with large successful pilot programs in Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa.
This next gadget was named “One of Ten Things that Will Change the Way We Live” by Forbes magazine. The Lifestraw is a personal water filter, designed to provide safe, clean, drinking water in any situation. It is super portable and lightweight, making it ideal for the avid hiker or camper. When applied to the world’s impoverished, the Lifestraw transforms all available water sources into safe drinking water. It filters at least 1,000 liters of water during its lifetime (264 gallons), weighs only 54 grams (2 ounces) and removes up to 99.99 percent of all waterborne bacteria and protozoan cysts. Much like the exchange program instilled by TOMS, for each LifeStraw water filter you buy, one school child in Africa receives clean water for an entire school year. So for just $19.95, one can truly make a difference in the life of a child!
The Q Drum, like the Wello Water Wheel discussed before, is a durable, doughnut-shaped plastic container which can hold 50 liters of water at capacity. Lasting up to eight years, the Q-drum is ideal for storing liquids in a safe, accessible manor without fear of contamination or breaking down and leaking. Ranging in price depending on the quantity bought, this storage container only costs $72 on average.
Probably among one of the first companies to link into the “one for one” trend of today, TOMS makes shoes for all ages and will donate a pair to someone in need for every pair bought. TOMS has given more than 10 million shoes away and each day that number climbs higher. Today, TOMS has even committed to creating jobs through shoe production in countries such as Haiti. This helps establish and support a responsible shoe industry within the country, and as a locally staffed and operated facility, TOMS is economically empowering individuals while giving big businesses a footprint to work in Haiti in the future.
In today’s society, novelties like dentist visits and eye doctor appointments are often taken for granted. In third-world countries, these amenities are seldom offered, making daily life especially difficult for those with poor eyesight. Thanks to Joshua Silver, an atomic physicist at Oxford, this may no longer be the case. The two lenses in these adjustable eyeglasses are filled with clear silicone fluid and the dial on each arm allows the user to twist each dial until the vision desired in each is attained.
“One Laptop Per Child”
This next gadget creates educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. Children who receive this computer engage in their own learning at their own pace. This program aims to improve literacy rates across the globe, and accepts donations which contribute to providing computers abroad. The average selling price for a single computer is $199.
Embrace Infant Warmer
Our last gadget may even be the most important in immediate life-threatening situations. This Infant Warmer is designed to warm prematurely born infants who may not necessarily have enough body fat upon birth to maintain their own internal temperature. Without this heat, the infant may begin to shiver, catch a cold or develop pneumonia. Typically, these infants would be placed in an incubator or a radiant box, but with limited resources and funding, many hospitals in developing countries can’t afford to invest in such options. The Embrace Infant Warmer, however, is the solution to this problem. Inexpensive compared to an incubator, and durable, the Warmer incorporates an innovative phase change material to rapidly stabilize the temperature of an infant suffering from hypothermia.
– Ashley Kudele
Source: Fast CoExist.com, Marcgunther.com, Wello Water Wheel, MPOWERD, Huffington Post, Unchartered Play, Kopernik, Q-Drum, TOMS, NY Times, Laptop.org, Embrace Global.org
Photo: GizMag, True Activist, Malawilive, Kickstarter, Collective Evolution, Blogspot, VDWOxford, News.com,