Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cheap mobile phones for practical deployment of lifesaving technologies

Popular Science has a short article on how Dean Kamen (of Segway fame) is partnering with Nokia on an innovation challenge. Kamen's stake is to improve bottom-up organization in developing companies so that they can more easily deploy lifesaving technologies: water purifiers and generators. From the article:

Each purifier and generator provides enough power and water for a village; but, with one million villages in India alone, deployment is a challenge. In the past, Kamen has worked with multinational companies to launch his inventions, but the top-down approach of a big company doesn't mesh well with the million-village scale of this project.

The developing world has a high number of cell phones per capita -- the counterpoint to having very little in the way of landlines -- and the idea is that software running on Nokia's platform could be used to network and control a village's small-scale power and water supply.

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