A vertical farm and education centre to combat rural poverty

Inhabitat features a concept modular and moveable building – called Mashambas – that could be used to increase farming productivity and reduce poverty in developing nations, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa where around 40% of the population are subsistence farmers.

Combining growing space, tools, education and a marketplace, the Mashambas is put in place for as long as needed – i.e. when the local community is thriving and self sustaining – before being disassembled and moved to another community.


Genetically modified mosquito is resistant to dengue fever

Futurity reports on what could be an important milestone in stopping the spread of dengue fever, which affects nearly 100-million people each year as well as killing around 20,000: researchers have bred mosquitoes in the lab that are resistant to the virus.

Source: http://www.futurity.org/genetically-modified-mosquito-1335852-2/

A 20 cent paper centrifuge to test for diseases

Stanford University researchers have developed a vastly lower-cost alternative to traditional centrifuges. For approximately 20 cents (rather than hundreds or thousands of dollars, and without the need for power), a paper device could allow health workers in the field, in remote areas without power, or after natural disasters do on the spot testing for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

Via The Economist: http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21714252-its-string-driven-thing-cardboard-centrifuge-separates-blood-cells-plasma

Concept: Low-cost arsenic detector for drinking water

SHENDY is an open-source and low-cost arsenic detector being developed by an international group of students. The aim is to create a smartphone connected device that can test whether groundwater is safe to drink based on its arsenic content, which is often at poisonous levels in post-conflict zones and after natural disasters.


Wind-powered ‘WaterSeer’ pulls clean water from the air 

Inhabitat features the WaterSeer – an in-development device that draws water from cooled air through condensation. From the article:

The Water Seer device is planted six or more feet into the ground, and soil is then packed around its metal neck. The top of the Water Seer holds a vertical wind turbine, which spins internal fan blades to draw air into the subterranean chamber. Because the underground chamber portion of the Water Seer is cooled by the surrounding earth, water condenses in the reservoir to creates sort of an artificial well, from which people can draw clean, safe drinking water around the clock.

Source: http://inhabitat.com/wind-powered-water-seer-produces-11-gallons-of-clean-drinking-water-from-the-air/

Concept: Aid-Delivering Drone That Breaks Into Edible / Useful Parts

FastCoExist highlights the development of a humanitarian drone for disaster and conflict zones by Windhorse Aerospace that is packed full of food and useful parts. From the article:

“Because the drone, called the Pouncer, is designed for one-way delivery, it can be broken down and reused when it arrives. Chop up the lightweight plywood frame, and it becomes kindling for a fire to cook the food. The wings themselves are packed with meals. The protective covers around the food can be used in shelters.”

Source: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3064094/this-humanitarian-aid-delivering-drone-is-going-to-be-edible

Concept: A sturdy disaster shelter that collapses for easy transportation

Inhabitat features a concept design for an emergency or post-disaster shelter that can be collapsed for easy transportation. From the article:

“..each Shelter Pack provides sleeping accommodations for four people, as well as a bathroom, kitchen, and built-in dining table.”

“Overall, each installed Shelter Pack home provides 129 square feet of living space that can sustain residents for months on end.”

Source: http://inhabitat.com/shelter-pack-emergency-homes-compress-to-31-inch-tall-slabs-for-easy-transport/

World’s First Flatpack Truck Assembles in 12 Hours

Wired features a flat-pack truck designed for developing countries, initially in Africa, where access to rugged vehicles or indeed any reliable and affordable transport is limited at best.

The vehicles can be put together by three people in around 12 hours and take up considerably less storage space than preassembled cars/trucks. The vehicles could be useful in remote regions of developing countries via community ownership or donation by NGOs and philanthropists, as well helping recovery from natural disaster or humanitarian crises.

Source: https://www.wired.com/2016/09/can-assemble-worlds-first-flatpack-truck-12-hours-just-like-ikea-book-shelf/

Billboard attracts and kills Zika-carrying mosquitos

Zika billboard

Interesting concept/experiment using artificial human sweat & breath to attract mosquitos. Would need to be replicated on a huge scale to have impact, but could be part of the solution. From the Engadget post:

The “billboards were designed to lure and kill Zika-carrying mosquitoes. They attract any Aedes aegypti up to 2.5 miles away by emitting a solution containing lactic acid and carbon dioxide that mimic human sweat and breath, respectively. Once the mosquitoes flock to the billboards, they get sucked inside the glass panel, where they’re trapped until they die.”

Via Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/21/billboard-kills-zika-carrying-mosquitoes/