D-Lab

D-Lab is featured in the book "Design Revolution"

Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People is a compendium of and call-to-action for product design that improves life. Authored by Project H Design founder Emily Pilloton, with a foreword by Core77's Allan Chochinov, the book challenges designers to be activists over aestheticians, and highlights over 100 products in 8 categories that show product design's ability to enable individuals, communities, and economies in the developing world and in our own back yards alike.

Among these 100 plus technologies featured in the book, two are coming out from D-Lab: Low-Cost Water Testing (page 74) and Sugarcane Charcoal (page 147). Additionally, D-Lab's overall approach to design and engineering for the developing world is also featured:

Perhaps the best example of design-as-action academics is MIT’s D-Lab, an engineering-based course offering that creates simple and appropriate technologies for the developing world under the leadership of engineer and maverick Amy Smith. The lab’s projects have included the previously mentioned sugarcane charcoal in Haiti and a low-cost lab test that uses a refashioned baby bottle and inexpensive filter paper to see if water is potable (see p. 74). Each of these academic initiatives is based on a social imperative and hands-on learning, and carried out through partnerships and strategic plans for implementation.

If interested, learn more about the book or buy it from Amazon.

Interview to Amy Smith

Amy Smith joins Talk2America Online Discussion on Low Tech Solutions moderated by Erin Brummet to talk about how inventors are finding new ways to get things done cheaper, faster and cleaner to fit local needs and customs. Amy talks about appropriate technologies:

The definition of appropriate technology has changed over the years. But now I take it to mean a technology that fits within the environment where it's intended to be used and that's in terms of infrastructure, supply chain, available resources and human capacity.

and what she's focusing right now as a key aspect of her work:

the thing I'm most interested in now is the idea of developing problem-solving capacity and technology design capabilities within the communities where we're working, so that community members become the creators of technology and are therefore better able to solve problems that arise or issues that they face in their daily lives. One of the things that we're trying to work on is training programs which empower people to become more active creators of technology.

To learn more, read the full transcript of the dicussion at Voice Of America

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