Amazing gadgets for the poor
“Basic needs such as clean water, transportation, and electricity are not readily available to many people living in developing countries. 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 gadgets that are helping the world’s poor.”
Imagine that you live in a poor country, without money for a pair of glasses or access to an optometrist, and you’re not seeing as well as you once did.
This product, a pair of self-adjusting eyeglasses, could change your life.
Or imagine that you are one of the 1.1 billion people on earth without access to clean, safe drinking water. Your child is in danger of contracting water-borne diseases, which kills 1.8 million a year. What would you give for this portable, water-filtration device, called LifeStraw?
Maybe you are one of the 1.6 billion people without regular access to electricity. Your children study at night using a kerosene lantern, but the fuel is expensive and dirty. Asolar-powered lantern would be a dramatic improvement.
These breakthrough products, all of them invented in the last 5 o 10 years, are examples of what can be done when technology is designed for the poor. You’ve probably heard about One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), the low-cost connected computer developed by Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab, but it’s just one of dozens of high-tech, high-impact products aimed at helping to spur global economic development. The trouble is, even though many of the products are low-cost–the LifeStraw, for example, sells for about $6.50–they aren’t available to many who need them.
That’s where a nonprofit called Kopernik comes in. Kopernik connects innovative technologies, poor communities and people who want to help.