Engineers Without Borders Bring Tech to Villages Without Power

by Dave

This is one of my key passions – to facilitate companies with a Gandhian engineering approach to their product portfolio to enter and serve previously ignored market segments in Latin America. Poster child for this approach – the Tata Nano car.

Definition of Gandhian engineering [via Innosight]: Gandhian engineering, or appropriate design, – a terrific mechanism for forcing product and business model development to cleave to the need profile of a target segment. After all, there is no greater predictor of disruptive success than products and business models that are designed around important and unsatisfied jobs to be done.

via Wired

A group of volunteer engineers are finishing the design for a home-brewed wind turbine that will bring electricity to off-the-grid Guatemalan villages by this summer.

After the U.S. engineers finish the design, local workers in the town of Quetzaltenango will manufacture the small-scale turbine. It will produce 10-15 watts of electricity, enough to charge a 12-volt battery that can power simple devices like LED lights.

The turbine was created by the Appropriate Technology Design Team of EWB’s San Francisco chapter. Team members like Malcolm Knapp and Heather Fleming spend their nights and weekends inside D2M’s design shop trying to perfect low-tech gadgets for people 2,500 miles away. D2M, which is Knapp and Fleming’s employer, donates the lab space for after-hours use by the EWB team.