DUXBURY, Masschusetts — Technology is part of everyday life, even essential for some tasks today. But what if you could not connect to the Internet? What if there was no power on a regular basis? What if you could not afford new technology? These are things that many individuals have to deal with in the developing world.
There is hope for the developing world. Inventors keep in mind the problems that could arise in the developing world, and work around them to create affordable technology. With the limitations of the developing world, these inventions are as difficult to create as cutting edge technology.
The SALt Lamp
SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) is hoping to take the place of kerosene and battery powered lamps in the developing world. Because this lamp requires no power and is safer than candles and kerosene, there is no risk of fire. The SALt Lamp can even charge a smartphone.
To make the lamp run for eight hours, all you need is a glass of water and two tablespoons of salt. If individuals have access to ocean water, then a glass of ocean water can be used as a substitute.
“The lamp works with a galvanic cell battery, which comes with two electrodes. When the electrodes are placed in the salty water, the power generated lights up an LED. Its creators reckon it has a lifespan of six months—a year if used alongside another light source.”
With the lack of electricity in parts of Africa, how is one supposed to refrigerate food? Around 40 percent of food spoils before it can be eaten, and this is partly because of lack of refrigeration.
Evaptainers are designed to be rugged and portable, and could be the replacement of refrigerators in the developing world. “Heat is drawn out of the Evaptainer’s interior onto aluminum plates. These are connected to a fabric that is kept wet, allowing the heat from up to 60 litres of food to naturally dissipate.
Evaptainers are currently on trial in Morocco and if successful, this innovation could help millions around the world keep their food fresh.
Clean water is still not available everywhere in the developing world. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,200 children die of diarrheal diseases every day—and much of this springs from unsafe drinking water.
As water is sucked through the LifeStraw, it flows through filters and a chamber with iodine. The water does have a bitter taste but is much safer than consuming contaminated water. Each straw can purify 700 liters before it needs to be replaced.
Healthcare is something that is taken for granted in first world countries. A simple eye exam can make all the difference for someone with poor eyesight.
“British company Eyejusters has come up with an innovative solution: glasses where the strength of the lens can be adjusted for the needs of the patient with an optometrist.” The glasses come with “SlideLenses” Each SlideLenses is made up of two lenses that can be manually adjusted until the patient can see clearly.
This approach eliminates the cost of visiting an optometrist, and the expense of multiple pairs of glasses.
There are many alternative energy solutions, but SunSaluter has combined solar power and cleaning drinking water into one unit. The solar panels are mounted on a rotating base in order for the panels to face the sun all day.
On the frame, there is a weight on one side and a water clock on the other. “As the water empties, the container gets lighter and the panel rotates to ensure it gets the most out of the sun’s energy.” During this process, up to four liters of water is made safe to drink.
– Kerri Szulak
Sources: Alphr, Evaptainers, Eyejusters, LifeStraw, SALt Lamp, SunSaluter
Photo: Fast Company