Technology can bring clean water to parched hills, more sunshine and energy to areas that don’t have it, and medical advice at the touch of a fingertip. While these may be services that we in the Western world take for granted, these simple and often inexpensive technologies are revolutionizing developing countries. Here’s a look at four of the most promising ones!
1. Mobile Advancements
While many of us may love to play Angry Birds or Pokemon Go on their cell phones, these little Internet access ports are making significant changes in the developing world. According to the Think Big website, all sorts of industries and services can be opened up via mobile technology.
Banking, commerce, and health are just some of the industries that are being brought to people in countries like Africa, India or China. Some people are even bypassing a bank account and opting instead for a phone. Nowadays, with the wallet feature and a little ingenuity, these same people can get paid via their phones, eliminating the need for a bank. Users also have ready access to translation services, updates about HIV/ AIDS, or even work possibilities.
2. The Water Catchers
Water truly counts as the elixir of life, but some places around the world never seem to have enough of it. Lima, Peru counts as one of these places. Having very little water means not enough to drink, not enough to cook with, and not enough to wash with. All of these can lead to sickness and even death because it is such a necessary resource.
As National Geographic points out, the hills of Peru are nearly dry the whole year through. Rain rarely falls. However, the area does have something that the Peruvians can use to get them through their dry spells – fog catchers. Alternatively, fog-catching nets now line the hills of Lima, just waiting to trap the water droplets that come with the fog from June to November.
These nets are the work of German biologists and conservationists, Anne Lummerich and Kai Tiedemann. It is an old technology, about 2,000 years old, but more ardent work on fog collecting began nearly a century ago. While this innovation will not provide enough water for a place like New York City, it can be just the solution that a small village needs during a dry spell.
3. The Reinvented Straw
In some developing countries, it is not a matter of not having access to water as much as it is not having access to clean water. However, there is a new technology out there called LifeStraw. Currently, it is advertised as a go-to hiking essential. However, it is also really useful in areas all over the world where people have to use contaminated water.
This is because these little straws have the ability to filter out 99.9999% of all bacteria and chemicals out of the water, ensuring that you are drinking clean water no matter from where you got it. Not only that but these tools are long-lasting as they can take in up to 264 gallons of water. There are many versions of this tool, but this is the one that is most trusted by NGO’s and is passed out to people all over the world by the United Nations.
4. Alternative Energy Sources
All over the world, people are starting to become attracted to the idea of using solar energy. In fact, many get their solar panels in Utah as the industry is pretty big there and are starting to see that by using alternative resources that not only are they doing something good for the world but they are saving money while doing it as well.
However, this type of technology is not only available to those of us in the developed western world. As we are starting to see how utilizing solar energy is benefiting us, we are starting to realize how much of an impact it would have if the rest of the world had access to it too. That is why Eden Full, a Princeton University mechanical engineering student, created an even smaller and newer type of solar panel just for developing countries. Her goal was to develop inexpensive solar panels that would optimize the amount of sun that they could collect each day. What is even more astounding is that her product only costs $10.
Technology has the potential to save lives and has proven to be a societal equalizer time and again. The four inventions featured in this post highlight just some of the ways that designers and engineers are helping to boost life expectancy and life quality via technology in the developing world. The advantage of many of these technologies is that they are inexpensive to buy and simple enough to implement in most cases. Honestly, a new sun is rising in these regions around the world.
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