5 Gadgets Which Changed Millions of Lives
December 29th, 2008
Gadgets sizzle and gadgets glitter. But beyond all these shiny eye candies, going far away from the limelights of Apple, Nokia, Philips’ and Dell, a few good men have tried something for the have-nots, for people who can not even watch the internet because they either don’t have the facility or can’t, for them who don’t take gadgets as mere electronic boons but a source to live the life in a better way. So, today, we will salute such five inventions (some of them may be very old) which have made millions of lives easy and better.
1. DIY adjustable glasses
Josh Silver has embarked on a quest that is breathtakingly ambitious, but which he insists is achievable – to offer glasses to a billion of the world’s poorest people by 2020.
Silver has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device’s tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.
The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed.
When asked about the magnitude of the project he is in and whether he will be able to reach the goal, the inventor answered, things are never simple. But I will solve this problem if I can. And I won’t really let people stand in my way.
God bless you sire.
To read more about this, read this article
2. Wind-up radio
Invented by Trevor Baylis, the crank-powered device brought radio to remote villages and was inspired by the need to disseminate information about AIDS. Millions of people got some entertainment at least. In his workshop at home he experimented with a hand brace, an electric motor and a small radio. He found that the brace turning a the motor would act as a generator that would supply sufficient electricity to power the radio. The addition of a clockwork mechanism meant that a spring could be wound up and that as the spring unwound the radio would play. His first working prototype ran for 14 minutes on a two minute wind. Trevor had invented a clockwork (windup) radio!
3. Solar Cooker
Solar cookers never needed an acknowledgment for the benefits it has reaped in million of homes. The main agenda that solar cooker inventor and pioneer Barbara Kerr had while making it is simple and comprised of 7 programs.
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Ensure environmental sustainability
7. Develop a global partnership for development
The 3 most common solar cooker designs are parabolic, box and panel cookers.
(1) Parabolic Cooker: The sun’s rays are captured in a reflector which focuses them at a point under a pot. The effect is like a stove top burner or a campfire. Temperatures can reach above 400 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to fry food.
(2) Box Cooker: The sun’s rays are received in an insulated black box with a transparent lid which lets in the sun’s rays. Inside the box, this sunshine turns to heat which is trapped in the box. The effect is similar to the oven in your kitchen. Temperatures can reach around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
(3) Panel Cooker: A combination of the two systems which is portable and less expensive. Temperatures can reach around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. (This is ample because cooking begins at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Thanks to them that so many people can at least cook their food for free. No fuel cost.
4. LifeStraw Portable Water Filter
An amazing and innovative product that I came across the other day is called the Lifestraw. The Lifestraw is a cigar sized portable water purification instrument that purifies water and removes potential pathogens such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and diarrhea. Working much like a straw, the water is purified and clean by the time it hits your lips.
Originally designed for the 1.1 billion people in the world without access to clean drinking water,LifeStraw has become and growing each day to be the absolute need of people who don’t even have water suitable for drink. Thanks to LifeStraw that the thirst is now quenched for many.
5. The XO OLPC Laptop
A textbook-sized computer with built-in wireless and a screen that is readable under direct sunlight. It was designed with extreme environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity in mind. You must be wondering why is a laptop included in this list! This may be yet another laptop but the motive behind is not like other MNC’s consumer grade policies. OLPC is a project that says one laptop per child. So one laptop you buy gives one laptop to a young brain who could never have bought it by his own. You can not but feel proud at the end of the day.
These five initiatives/ inventions helped goodwill and technology walk hand in hand. Millions of people got a different way of life through them. Do you have anything like this to share? Do you want to help them too? Write to us. We will be glad to help you stretch your hands to theirs. After all, beyond the glitz and tech, we have a mind that is still humane and feels for others, no? Take care.
[information source: guardian.co.uk]