[ExI] Designing and applying technology for the third world

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Sat Sep 25 16:58:10 UTC 2010

On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 5:52 AM, John Grigg wrote:
> "The single biggest reason that the appropriate technology movement
> died and most technologies for developing countries never reach scale
> is that nobody seems to know how to design for the market."
> http://blog.paulpolak.com/?p=392

After participating in a few "design for third world countries"
competitions and groups in the past, my experience tells me the
problem is worse. Not only does nobody know how to do any sort of
engineering any more, and not only does (almost) nobody know the
market, but whenever something is made, it's patented and immediately
made secret.

There are at least a handful of "Engineers Without Borders" and
"Sustainable Engineers for whatever" groups on each university campus.
I guarantee you that each of them have worked on some sort of water
purification system in the past. Let's double check that.. say about
400 universities in the U.S. with EWB groups or SE groups, and each
one of them with a water purification project. Arguably, the market is
not flooded with knowledge on how to do water purification, usually
it's the same old design.. desalinization via plastic bags,
ionization, etc. This isn't because of a lack of ideas-- many of these
groups come up with really novel ideas. What I don't see is public
attempts at releasing these designs, knowledge, etc. And if we can't
even do that at home, where we have signfiicant information and
knowledge infrastructure, how in the hell is anyone going to do it

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list