Friday, 11 February 2011

Water for all the neighbours

As Green Design takes off around the world, it is hard to forget that billions of people continue to live on less than $10 per day. As transnational businesses increasingly seek out the custom of the bottom billions, designers must consider the distinctive needs of the global majority. Innovations range from low-cost water pumps, solar heaters and mobile phone chargers to biomass fuel briquettes.

Of particular interest to Back to Tap are low cost water filters and pumps, along with other innovative projects that are leading the way to affordable, safe drinking water for the global majority.

Low-cost water pumping in Uganda with the a treadle pump

With this goal in mind, designers have been experimenting with established technology and new techniques, including the process of layering nanoparticles which can be used to provide safe and affordable water filters .

The experimental process, known as “atomic layer deposition”, involves layering nanoparticles onto a metal or a ceramic to create a thin film of cells. While nanofilters remain in the trial stage, these efforts show a commitment to finding solutions for problems facing billions of people.

As other products like the Hippo Roller and bamboo frame bicycles continue to be developed by designers and manufactured locally in Africa and Asia, it seems as if design is destined to will live up to its potential in transforming lives and creating livelihoods.

Bamboo bicycle glory from Indonesia

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