[ExI] Designing and applying technology for the third world

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Sep 25 17:51:31 UTC 2010

On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 9:58 AM, Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

Patents don't make it secret.  Quite the other way.

> 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
> abroad?

Engineering ideas only turn into something real when someone cares to
put the effort into doing it.  That doesn't happen very often.

You might Google for Saltworks Technologies

> - Bryan
> http://heybryan.org/
> 1 512 203 0507
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