A cable-car-like ropeway that transports goods uphill. A charcoal-crushing machine made from carbonized corn cobs. A low-cost incubator that could be used to nurture premature babies in remote villages.
These are just a few of the gadgets that emerged from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology summer design workshop aimed at finding cheap, simple solutions to problems in the developing world. More than 50 innovators from some 20 countries on 5 continents gathered on MIT's campus for the monthlong International Development Design Summit, which wrapped up Friday.
Oswin Chibinga, a professor of agriculture at the University of Zambia, was part of a team designing a method for charging batteries while pumping water with a treadle pump, a simple irrigation device widely used in many developing countries.