11.025 / 11.472 (G), EC.701 / EC.781 (G)  D-Lab: Development

D-Lab: Development

D-Lab: Development addresses issues of technological improvements at the micro level for developing countries—in particular, how the quality of life of low-income households can be improved by adaptation of low cost and sustainable technologies. Discussion of development issues as well as project implementation challenges are addressed through lectures, case studies, guest speakers and laboratory exercises.

Students form project teams to partner with mostly local level organizations in developing countries, and formulate plans for an IAP site visit. Partial funding is available for all students who wish to travel and perform out-of-country fieldwork related to this class. Previous field sites include Ghana, Brazil, Honduras, Tanzania, El Salvador, Uganda, and India. Project team meetings focus on developing specific projects and include cultural, social, political, environmental and economic overviews of the countries and localities to be visited as well as an introduction to the local languages.

Enrollment limited by lottery; must attend first class session. Like most of D-Lab courses, there is no pre-requisite for this class, and it's open to all students from MIT, Harvard and Wellesley (read more: FAQ: How can I get involved?).

Course Information
Instructors: Libby Hsu, Bish Sanyal, Amy Smith
Semester Offered: Fall (Offered since 2002)
Lecture Location: N51-310
Lecture Times: MWF3:30-5
Units (credit hours) 3-2-7
Class Size: 40 students
Grading: A/B/C/D/F
Course Student Projects
2008BicilavadoraPedal-powered washing machine
Biodigester WorkshopCommunity workshop on how to install a plastic bag biogas generator to produce methane for cooking and fertilizer for farming
Ceramic Water FiltersPrototypical ceramic water filters using local clay and materials found near New Longoro, Gomboi and Dwere (Ghana)
Charcoal Technology DemonstrationHow to make charcoal out of agricultural waste using an oil drum and readily available starch
Drip Irrigation KitsTechnology demonstration for the $2 drip irrigation kits from International Development Enterprises (IDE)
Hand-held Corn ShellersA practical, economical hand-held corn sheller to quicly and easily remove corn kernels from the ear
Hand-powered Walnut CrackerAdaptation of the Universal Nut Sheller from the Full Belly project to crack walnuts
Low-cost Bacterial Water TestingSimple low-cost method for testing bacterial (fecal) contamination in community water sources
Portable Solar CookerPortable solar parabolic concentrator designed with nomadic peoples of the high-altitude regions of central Tibet
Rural Energy Usage DatabaseQuantitative monitoring mechanism for the implementation of energy alternatives in the Himalayan region