IDDS Part IV: Appropriate Design for Developing Countries (TiE Talk)

Iqbal Qadir (surprise guest), Founder of Grameen Phone, [TED Talk]
Tim Prestero, Design that Matters
Amy Smith, D-Lab [TED Talk]
Pete Haas, Founder of AIDG

Pete’s Presentation [ppt]

Slide 1:

Slide 2: Decrease in Infectious Disease Mortality (U.S. 1900-1996)

Slide 3: Unplanned Community in Cap Haitien

Slide 4: Ease of Doing Business by Country (2007)
Google Mashup

Slide 5: AIDG Methods – Incubation, Education, Outreach

Slide 6: XelaTeco (2005)

Slide 7: Incubation

Slide 8: Education

Slide 9: Outreach

Slide 10: Summary

Pete called for the designers there to take a long-term view of the technologies that they development. Think about scaleability… how will your prodct/tech serve people as their needs grow. Example …

Design that matters

non-standard product design company -> 90% of work is done by volunteers
How can they offer desgin as a service for 10 cents on the dollar.

The problem:
Infant mortality (4 million kids)

Cheap incubator – essentially a box that keeps the baby warm and clean
In developing countries, many babies are born with LBW or premature…
2 million not die… probably 10 million who would have better health outcomes with incubator…

Katmandu, Nepal.

Wall mounted space heater… keeping kids bundled up… [18kids 2 nurses, having them bundled makes spot checks for health slow], design of incubator there does not prevent infection spread (open top)
18hours of load shedding per week. backup generator doesn’t always work

Pulse oximeter … (stevie wonder is blind because he received too much oxygen as a newborn)

Refugee Camp (workers could bring in laptops but no med equipment)
wrapping baby in bubble wrap to help babies with temperature regulation.

Who are the users?

Shows pic of field technician
Maintenance man – auto mecanic

1) product point of view
2) context – user –
3) Need you are trying to solve (question of what is the top of the line, what are the similarities and differences between what is used in different contexts)… surprising how many people you have to talk to… the many different stake holders…

If your maintenance person in dev countries is mainly a mechanic, why not design using car parts.

Blower, halogen lights from headlights, heat exchanger from cooling system as a thermal reservoir

Modularity?… tons of broken incubators … can you recycle the old ones… etc.

doctors and nurses at regional clinics in dev countries
a locally serviceable isolette to assist in thermoregulation for LBW infants of 32 weeks or greater gestational age
(super premies – 24 weeks -to hard to save?)

pete gave the overview of the problem

tim gave an example of specific product

amy ties it together noting that both examples talked about the use of talent to do … to research and r&D

so amy talks about teaching and creating the talent who understand the design parameters of designing for developing countries… you cannot design for a developing country context if you have not visited.

very important ..

every student grinds grain, every student carried water on their head, every student uses a dirty smelly pit latrine so they understand what the importance of improvements in these …

did surveys to see what they thought of solar lighting options so her pal who was doing design for … could understand what the villagers wanted

ID problem



solar generator (won world bank development
different approach to solar electricity … developed in D-lab


Early warning system for flooding
Honduras … village suggestion … after devestation of hurricane mitch in 19999

Very disappoint to an engineer like herself… Not all problems have a technical solution
dissemination… rather than create a tech how do you spread it

Talk about Haiti Project (first year of class … haiti class)
8 m trees cut down eery year for charcoal industry
alternative cooking fuels very interesting
waste paper – cooking briquettes … peace corps volunteer had been working with it but wa disappointed in how it worked.
fixed machine – tripled output of original device
D-lab II class – they found out that the briquettes did not burn, waste paper was not available in village
peace corps volunteer (bless him)… paper from PAP 10 hours away

They notice that there were many small scale
begasse available – folks used charcoal – charcoal begasse bricket
combining acedemia with development work is not a recipe for speed

start: begasse briquettes did not works as well as charcoal
D-lab the next year when do india … noted folks were us

rice straw and wheat straw – small amount of manure as a binder … briquettes burned much more cleanly

came back and did more testing
how compacted do they have to be to burn as well as standard wood charcoal
what are the emission?
incorporated these questions into different classes at MIT

ended up with aproduct
10x as cleaner in terms of sox and nox, 1/2 CO emissions, and burn for longer

going back to the communities in the field… improvement

eric, a 15 year old, in ghana – a bit problem was a matter soluble binder… …
what happens if you poor water on it
(poor sand on it to extinguish it) … had been working on that problem for 3 years
Problem solved
the learning and teaching goes both ways

ghana – learned a new technique for making charcoal from corn cobs
within a week you can make back your investment

this year – larger scale press (moving)
4x output, new briquette that can be broken up into smaller pieces


microbial fuel cells
microbes generate electricity on an anode …
charcoal electrodes…

last night it became a competitive sport

brazil is the winner 10 briquettes per winner



he designed a business and distribution system rather than a product

he wants to go back a step about the whys and wherefores?
Why is it hard to start a business…
he grew up in a small town in bangladesh… knew that the capital city is very different from his town…. unlike US where everything is not in DC … but in bangla everything is in Dhaka … this is not unique to the developign world … the capital and the vast amount land outside

history of development dispersion of power
physical manifestation of the coalescence of power … eveything come to you in the capital

decentralization – progress
giving aid to governments centralizes power again and exacerbates this issue

in the early 1990’s he became an investment banker in NYC. Noted computer revolution going on … moore’s law

can’t bring computers to the people in teh same way as many people where illiterate… but phones were a definite possibility.
memory: bangla was at war (1971), family moved to a remote village to escape the violence… had to get meds for his sibling (who later went to MIT), walked for hours to the pharmacy who did not have the meds in need realized that connectivity is productivity (ironically this memory came back to him while waiting for IT guys to fix their network)