Videos: 3-D Scanning at Home

These videos show you how you can build a 3-D laser scanner using a line laser, web cam, your desktop/laptop and some free software:

How to make a 3D scanner (quick overview)

Duration: 6 min 33sec

Systm – Episode 73 – Build a 3D Scanner From for $25 (getailed walkthrough)

http://revision3.com/player-v1940

Duration: 39 min 57 sec

In the video from the guys at Systm, Patrick just moved the laser line by hand. The following videos show people who have set up rigs with stepper motors so they can have finer and more reproducible control of the line lasers movements as scans are being made.

3-D Scanning Software: David Laser scanner. The basic version of the software is free.

A few pointers, I tried the software with multiple webcams, it worked straightaway only with logitech model quickcams. Other webcams required much faffing around and searching the forums.

Quetsol Update


Duration: 5 minutes 39 seconds

On January 9th, 3 days before the earthquake in Haiti, AIDG-Guatemala hosted an event with local community members, family, and friends to congratulate the solar energy start-up Quetsol for winning GuateVerde 2009 and to welcome them into our Business Incubation Program.

As many of our hearts are focused on Haiti right now due to the overwhelming magnitude of the catastrophe there, we also have to remember that many developing countries are highly vulnerable to natural disaster.

Water, energy, food and health supplies can be virtually shut off from resources whose provisions were already scarce. This lack of disaster resiliency motivates AIDG to push forward in its mission to support green businesses that can respond to needs in countries such as Haiti and Guatemala who are more than familiar with the impact an earthquake, hurricane, or landslide can have on their communities.

Guatemala’s newest SGB that will be providing the very communities most damaged by Hurricane Stan (near Lake Atitlán) with basic energy needs using simple and affordable photovoltaic technologies.

In watching Guatemala rebuild itself after 2005’s Hurricane Stan, AIDG witnessed many struggles and triumphs. Although almost 5 years later there is still evidence of the tragedy that occurred, the signs of progress and innovation are everywhere. AIDG-Guatemala’s business plan competition is a mere glimpse of this picture, but it demonstrates that for communities hit by natural disaster it is not only about survival; restoration and opportunities for development are significant factors in the healing process.

As Quetsol or Haiti’s own Enersa or Shelter2Home prove, there is great promise in investors supporting small and growing green technology businesses in developing countries. These businesses revive the local economy while bringing sustainable, environmentally sound solutions to communities looking to thrive, not merely survive.

During this event economics and business expert Lic. Juan Manuel Palacios spoke on why supporting green businesses in Guatemala is important. Commending Quetsol for its determination, Lic. Palacios commented that the business that will make great environmental and social impact on a country looking forward after years of misfortune.

Quetsol in Action

Illumination from candlelight
Illumination from candlelight

Illumination from candlelight
Illumination from solar charged LED unit.

Related Links:

Quetsol
Quetsol Life (blog)
Friends of Quetsol Facebook Group

Related Posts:

AIDG wins grant from Aspen

This year AIDG began conducting business plan competitions as a way to identify promising entrepreneurs in Haiti and Guatemala. Through this new process, we found 3 excellent teams, Quetsol, Flowercin, and COOPEN. We’re thinking that the methodology is an idea worth standardizing and sharing with other non-profits in our sector whose mission depends on locating talented entrepreneurs. Luckily the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, of which we’re a founding member, thinks so too. They recently awarded AIDG a $72,800 grant from their Capacity Development fund to create essentially a business plan competition in a box. We’re using our tech skills to “create a business plan competition and enterprise incubator resource website and materials toolkit that can be used to easily and quickly run a business plan competition; advertise, accept applications, judge applications to standardized criteria, provide training and support resources to SMEs, and track and report the progress of competitions.” Knowledge sharing is a big part of how we operate. We’re happy that the work that we’re doing now to find new and exciting businesses can benefit the other NGOs in our sector.

Funding for the grants was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Lemelson Foundation and Shell Foundation.

From our grant app:

[AIDG] seeks to create a business plan competition and enterprise incubator resource website and materials toolkit that can be used to easily and quickly run a business plan competition; advertise, accept applications, judge applications to standardized criteria, provide training and support resources to SMEs, and track and report the progress of competitions.

AIDG is interested in leveraging what it and other ANDE members have learned in running business plan competitions and providing training curriculum around writing and pitching a business plan. We hope to create a standard website and toolkit that can be used by ANDE members and other qualified sector organizations to run their business plan competitions without having to invest significant resources in internally developing new platforms for each contest. The toolkit of materials, publicity and sites will be developed in French, Spanish and English to maximize potential regional applications.

Audio: In Haiti, A Low-Wage Job Is Better Than None [NPR]

Several months ago, NPR posted a piece on Haiti’s estimated 70% unemployment rate and the opportunities that may exist through HOPE II (The Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act).

The piece gave a great description of what unemployment (more precisely the lack of employment in the formal sector) looks like in Haiti and by extension many cities in developing countries:

Haiti needs investment at all levels to pull itself out of poverty, export oriented jobs in Port Au Prince are a good start but it will take a vision of economic development beyond the capital to effect greater change. Decentralization of government services to permit basic bureaucratic functions to be handled in the province capitals will be vital to catch the rest of the country up to the capital. The deregulation of certain key markets, such as energy, will be needed to attract foreign investment. We have seen the success of the establishment of competition in the development of the cellular market in Haiti, there are other areas where this could quickly and easily be established. Now is the time to help Haiti turn the corner to pull itself out of poverty, to attract foreign capital in infrastructure, goods and services. Unfortunately such a change would require a level of cross agenda cooperation that is uncommon for the legislature of Haiti. I can only hope that the leaders of Haiti will work together to create a newfound economic stability that works for all parts of the country and can move beyond thier individual agendas.

Pete’s comment on the story’s site:
Haiti needs investment at all levels to pull itself out of poverty, export oriented jobs in Port-au-Prince are a good start, but it will take a vision of economic development beyond the capital to effect greater change. Decentralization of government services to permit basic beauracratic functions to be handled in the province capitals will be vital to catch the rest of the country up to the capital. The deregulation of certain key markets, such as energy, will be needed to attract foreign investment. We have seen the success of the establishment of competition in the development of the cellular market in Haiti, there are other areas where this could quickly and easily be established. Now is the time to help Haiti turn the corner to pull itself out of poverty, to attract foreign capital in infrastructure, goods and services. Unfortunately such a change would require a level of cross agenda cooperation that is uncommon for the legislature of Haiti. I can only hope that the leaders of Haiti will work together to create a newfound economic stability that works for all parts of the country and can move beyond thier individual agendas.

Related Sites:
H.R. 6111, the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006 (HOPE)
[FYI: If this link breaks as some point in the future and you want to exact text of the Act, HOPE makes an appearance in the 5th (H.R.6111.EAH) and 6th versions (H.R.6111.ENR]) of overall bill. It tucked into Title V of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006]

HOPE provides for duty-free treatment for certain apparel articles imported directly from Haiti. Section 213A (b)(2) of HOPE provides duty-free treatment for apparel articles wholly assembled, or knit-to-shape, in Haiti from any combination of fabrics, fabric components, components knit-to-shape, and yarns, if the sum of the cost or value of materials produced in Haiti or one or more countries, as described in HOPE, or any combination thereof, plus the direct costs of processing operations performed in … Section 213A (a)(1)(B) of HOPE provides that the initial applicable one-year period of quantitative limitation means the one-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of HOPE, beginning on December 20, 2006. Section 213A (b)(3) of HOPE provides that annual quantitative limitations will be recalculated for each subsequent 12-month period. Section 213A (b)(3) of HOPE also provides that the quantitative limitations for qualifying apparel imported from Haiti under this

  • HOPE provides for duty-free treatment for certain apparel articles imported directly from Haiti.

Update on our sanitation work in Haiti: a meeting with CHF International

Over the past 2 years we have partnered with SOIL and SOL to build dry composting toilets in Haiti. All told SOIL has built 48 units; we’ve worked with them on 3 with another 1-2 on the way in coming months. As you can imagine of the hardest things about international development is assuring that technology you install remains in good condition and properly functioning over time.

Last week we got the opportunity to talk to members of the women’s group AFAPA who is in charge of maintaining one of the toilets we built with SOIL/SOL. It’s in located in the back of the main market in Petite Anse, a large neighborhood of Cap Haitien. At this meeting were 3 AIDG team members, 3-4 members of AFAPA, and 3 staff members from CHF International. CHF is the main NGO recipient of USAID funding in Haiti. In …, it received … which is it disbursing to NGO groups to fund various projects. Their main interest is in programs for job creation and income generation. They are very interested in sanitation and particularly in ways that sanitation programs can be done run sustainably from a cash standpoint.

Link of the Day 022308: Why sustainability is still going strong [FT.com]

FT.com posted an interesting article on how different types of corporate sustainability initiatives will continue to go strong even in this economic environment: Why sustainability is still going strong.

While I find their conclusions a bit too optimistic, this statement caught my attention.

The current economic crisis adds tension – customers with less cash to spend may reduce demand for such products. However, this appears to be primarily a financing issue. The companies that succeed may well be those that can help their customers finance purchases so the timing of cash outlays and operational savings are brought closer together.

For many companies serving the bottom of the pyramid, economic crisis is a continuous state of being for their customers. Folks making $2-4 a day are always living paycheck to paycheck, always job to job, and always just a heartbeat/an accident/a sick day away from everything falling apart.

The types of products and services that AIDG is most interested in can be a tough sell for families and communities in this situation. Even if they are totally gung-ho about the product, getting the cash together for a purchase that represents a mid to large scale capital investment can be incredibly difficult. It’s tough to save and it’s tougher to borrow given that the choices range from family/friends, banks who probably won’t give you the time of day or loan sharks. Some of you might be thinking “But what about microfinance?” Purchases eligible for microloans typically are those that will make the borrower money, but NOT those that would save them money. [Note: Recognizing these limitations, many microfinance institutions are now trying to find ways to boost access to appropriate technology through microfinance initiatives.]

To enable sales to these BOP clients, innovative and sometimes old school financing methods are necessary. The suggestion made in the article about companies helping customers finance purchases such that payments roughly coincide with when operational savings are experienced is a really important one here.

For an example of how we tried to work that out with stove sales in Guatemala, check out this blog post.

A nice example of this idea in practice with renewable energy systems in the US is the work of … You pay them the difference between your electricity bill in previous years and your bill after the system is installed.

Related posts:
XelaTeco conundrum: How do you compete with free?
Making XelaTeco’s stoves affordable to rural communities: creative financing or doing it old school?