International Development Design Summit
“Nearly 90 percent of research and development dollars are spent on creating technologies that serve the wealthiest 10 percent of the world’s population,” Ms. Smith said. “The point of the design revolution is to switch that.” -Amy Smith
Monday begins the month long International Development Design Summit at MIT, a meeting of designers, scientist, and global innovators working to bring low-tech solutions to every day problems for the world’s poorest: those living on less than a dollar a day. The previous summit produced a bicycle powered gristmill, easy water purification, and low-cost refrigeration. The event was started by MacArthur Genius Grant winner Amy Smith, a lecturer at MIT. Instead of just ideas on paper, the goal of the project is to develop working prototypes that can quickly be reproduced, at the local level, around the world. Ideas so far to emerge from the event is a water-carrying backpack and electricity generation for cow dung and corncob charcoal. Students in the class first spend time abroad working to help the people whose needs they will be trying address and developing an understanding of the limitations posed by a lack of clean water, sanitation, and electricity.