Unravelling Appropriate Technology with the Experts
Unravelling Appropriate Technology with the Experts
  • Park Tae-yoon
  • 승인 2012.09.05 20:05
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Hugging 90 Percent of the Alienated around the World
All family members farmed all day long, but they earn just two dollars for that day. As no waterworks have been done in their village, children fetch water from a stream ten kilometers away from home. There is no part of their body that is left unscathed, but they have never seen a hospital before. This family is not a special example, but a rather common one. According to the World Bank, about three billion people around the world are living on barely two dollars a day. In addition, UNICEF emphasized that 400 million children have been drinking contaminated water and 270 million children do not receive medical care. Even though advanced countries, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and multinational corporations have been pumping money into developing countries to eradicate poverty, the efforts haven’t paid off. Is there any other way to fight off poverty?
Definition and origin of appropriate technology
Appropriate technology is technology that is relatively cheap and easy to develop. Consequently, scientists and engineers have studied this technology for the less fortunate. To sum up, appropriate technology is defined as anthropocentric technology. Medical treatment and techniques are also included in the definition of appropriate technology.
Appropriate technology was first disseminated throughout India by Mahatma Gandhi, the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. When India was plundered by Britain, he spread the method of making clothes on a spinning wheel.
Examples based on appropriate technology
▲Lifestraw: Most people in developing countries had no access to filtered water. To solve this problem, the device named Lifestraw was invented. When someone sucks river water or contaminated water through Lifestraw, water passes through the filter in the straw that filters out dust particles and removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of parasites. Lifestraw can filter a maximum of 18,000 liters of water, providing safe drinking water for a family of five for up to three years.
▲Q-Drum, rolling water bottle: As explained above, clean water, or a lack thereof, is directly related to human survival. Q-Drum was created based on the ideas of how drums roll. Because of Q-Drum’s wheel-like shape, even a child can transport 75 liters of water easily. Two-hundred thousand people have benefited from this invention, and the number is increasing every year.
▲Pot-In-Pot Refrigerator: The pot-in-pot refrigerator and its manufacturing process were engineered by Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher. Pot-in-pot refrigerator is a refrigeration device which keeps food cool without electricity by using evaporative cooling. A porous outer earthenware pot, lined with wet sand, contains an inner pot within which the food is placed - the evaporation of the outer liquid draws heat from the inner pot. The device can be used to cool any substances such as water, foods or temperature-sensitive drugs.
Technology that does not practically help consumers is not considered appropriate technology even if it is brilliant. In advancing appropriate technology, warm heart for humanity is as important as technical skill. In the past, science and technology just played roles in technical progresses. However, from now on, they assume the responsibility of making  people a present of laughter.