Below you will find the profiles of the 23 winning submissions for the “empowering people. Award”. An international expert jury awarded prize money worth 50,000, 30,000 and 20,000 Euro to the top three winners respectively, while the other 20 winning projects received 5,000 Euro each.
The Community Prize winner additionally selected his prize from different communications hardware such as a computer, a video-camera or a smartphone (value up to 3,000 Euro)
Meet our winners and explore their exceptional technological innovations!
Specs for one dollar crafted manually empowering people
Organization: EinDollarBrille e.V. - Germany
Contact: Martin Aufmuth
Used by: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Benin, Malawi, Bolivia, Brasil, Mexico
The OneDollarGlasses are manufactured on bending and milling machines specially designed for this purpose. The spectacle frames consist of a lightweight and flexible frame made of extremely robust, rustproof and hypoallergenic spring steel wire (1 mm). The frames are manufactured by hand on a bending device which does not need a power supply. Different physiognomies can be taken into account individually when bending the frame. The elliptical polished, unbreakable lenses are given the notches and steps for fastening in the spectacle frames on the milling attachment and can be inserted in no time. This milling machine can be operated via a decentralized power supply thanks to the low power consumption (generator or solar station). Heat-shrinkable sleeves made of hypoallergenic plastic on the ear piece ends increase the wearing comfort of the glasses. Because the glasses have very little weight, they do not require nosebridges. Two coloured glass pearls give each pair of glasses its own personal design. The total material costs for a pair of glasses amount to approx. 0.80 US dollar. The production process of a standard pair of glasses takes about 15 minutes (including the machining of the lenses).
Locally-made biodegradable sanitary pads
Organization: Technology for Tomorrow Limited - Uganda
Contact: Moses Musaazi
Used by: Sierra Leone, Uganda
MakaPads are sanitary pads made from papyrus and paper waste. The naturally absorbent material has a high capacity (one pad can be used for 8 to 10 hours). Contrary to most other sanitary pads on the market, there is no additional absorption enhancement required. They are assembled with a moisture barrier and mesh covering and can be purchased with or without an adhesive. The dried and pulverised papyrus fibres are processed into a thick paste with paper and water. This is dried in the sun, smoothed, pressed and cut to size into absorbent inserts with mechanically operated machines. The pads are sealed in packs of three and then exposed to ultra violet light to kill off all bacteria or germs. Because the sanitary napkins are made of natural material and do not contain any chemical additives, they are almost 100% biodegradable and do not cause any intolerances. The mostly manual production process needs very little electrical energy and can be generated via solar panels of total 350 W. Subsequently, Makapads are produced with minimum carbon footprint.
Jompy Water Boiler
Heats water, kills bacteria
Categories: Energy, Water & Waste Water
Organization: Celsius Global Solutions - UK
Contact: David Osborne
Used by: India, Kenya, Uganda
The Jompy Water Boiler is a lightweight and inexpensive fire top device which sits between cooking pots on an open flame. It enables households to cook a meal while at the same time heating water to temperatures high enough to kill 98% of waterborne bacteria (according to entrants), thereby making it safe to drink or use the water for cooking or bathing. Gravity pushes the water through the Jompy Water Boiler, which then delivers near boiling hot water within seconds and at a rate of one litre per minute. It works equally efficient on stoves or simple three stone fires, making it suitable for the use in both rural areas, as well as, urban dwellings. Through a more efficient use of the cooking fire, the Jompy Water Boiler also dramatically reduces fuel costs for poor families.
Solar energy for cooking
Categories: Energy, Food & Agriculture
Organization: Trinysol - Mexico
Contact: Gregor Schäpers
Used by: Mexico
The solar reflectors can be used to bake, cook, or fry all kinds of food, as well as, to generate steam. They are based on the Scheffler type, as they are built of steel sections presenting 16 m² of highly reflective aluminum. Powered by a sensor-controlled motor, the reflector rotates, following the course of the sun and focusing its light on the one point throughout the year. This focus collects the sunlight and therefore reaches temperatures, which exceed 1000 °C. Depending on the seasons, the reflector is configured to the angle of the sun at two levers very simply by hand. The system is transportable. The concentrated energy can be used for heating a plate of about 1 m² or an oven to 180-250 °C in about an hour. The temperature is kept constant by an integrated stone core. Further, it can be used to generate steam as an energy source, as several combined reflectors can vaporize water in an absorber that is connected to a pressure tank (to max 10 bars).
Embrace Nest: The...
Sleeping bag incubator with reusable heat pads
Organization: Embrace - USA
Contact: Alejandra Villalobos
Used by: Afghanistan, China, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia
Embrace developed a low-cost and energy-efficient infant warmer, which addresses the key challenge of preventing hypothermia for infants with low birth weight in developing countries. The design looks like a miniature sleeping bag and incorporates phase change material, which maintains a constant, clinically ideal temperature for up to 6 hours. Unlike traditional incubators, it allows physical contact between mother and child, promoting the development of a strong maternal bond. It is an intuitive device that can be reused, sterilized and repaired locally. The design of the device incorporates a wax-like phase change material (PCM) which, when heated for 25 minutes using an electric heater, ensures that the infant remains in a clinically approved temperature for up to 6 hours. The device was engineered to minimize the heat loss from the PCM to its surroundings. The electric heater requires intermittent access to an AC power source; however, it can also run off a generator or any alternate AC power source. A new version of the infant warmer, which is heated by boiling water and would therefore be suitable for more remote and resource-poor areas, is currently under pilot testing.
Power for remote regions
Categories: Energy, Information & Communication Technology
Organization: Solarkiosk GmbH - Germany
Contact: Andreas Spieß
Used by: Ethiopia, Kenya
The SOLARKIOSK is a solar-powered autonomous business hub. It utilizes solar power to provide rural off-grid communities with sustainable energy and energy-related products and services such as battery charging, communication, refrigeration, and an unprecedented access to technology and information. A SOLARKIOSK uses the energy it produces as a "mini smart grid". The structure is a modular and expandable kit-of-parts that can be easily transported and deployed in remote off-grid areas. Globally, 1.5 million people live without electricity access - 800 million of them are in Africa. Their annual energy expenditures amount to approx. 30 billion USD - about 120 USD per household. The majority of their energy is provided by unsustainable and dirty fuels despite abundant sunshine. The SOLARKIOSK addresses energy needs and spurs sustainable economic development of rural off-grid communities worldwide. SOLARKIOSK works at the bottom-of-the-pyramid and utilizes an inclusive business model. The franchise model enables a local kiosk owner to meet the needs and challenges of their rural off-grid community by enabling and empowering it.
SMSGYAN – Information...
Offline internet research service via SMS
Categories: Information & Communication Technology
Organization: Innoz Technologies - India
Contact: Deepak Ravindran
Used by: India
The solution titled SMSGYAN (Gyan meaning “knowledge” in Hindi) acts as a bridge for digital divides by providing Internet to the offline world. SMSGYAN provides information services, such as access to a dictionary, an encyclopaedia, job search, health information, stock markets etc., via text messages. For the user, it is a simple and cheap way to search the Internet via text. The mobile user types an SMS with the query and sends it to 55444. Once the Gyan engine receives a query from a mobile user, the algorithm spiders the World Wide Web or Wikis on the Web for related information, zeroes in on the most relevant inputs and shortens it to be sent back to the mobile phone via the text message route. SMSGYAN currently works only in India, but will be transferred to other developing countries. The services are offered on a revenue sharing basis with the operator (0.01 Euro per SMS or 0.30 Euro flat rate per month).
Score StoveTM 2
Power production through acoustic oscillations
Categories: Energy, Food & Agriculture
Organization: The University of Nottingham - United Kingdom
Contact: Paul Riley
Used by: Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal, United Kingdom
The Score Stove™2 is a low-smoke cook stove with high combustion efficiency. When cooking with wood fuel or other fuels such as dung or crop residuals, it produces additional electrical energy through the combustion heat. Using the electro-acoustic effect with the help of an innovative device, powerful sound waves are produced in combination with a linear electrical generator. The sound emmitted by the stove is no louder than a hum. The electricity produced by the Score Stove can be used to charge 12 V batteries or to provide main AC voltage. The stove is designed to be used in developing countries and can bring electricity to people in rural or remote areas. The Score Stove uses 30 to 50% less wood than the conventional 3 stone stove, thus, reducing deforestation. Working prototypes of Score Stove™2 exist in the UK, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Nepal. Trials have proven that the divice can produce enough electricity to light two LEDs whilst cooking a meal, eg. eggs and rice.
River Ice - Cooling...
Cooling system with turbine in flowing water
Categories: Energy, Water & Waste Water
Organization: APROTEC - Colombia
Contact: Mauricio Gnecco
Used by: Colombia
River Ice is a small-scale Garman river turbine directly connected to an open refrigeration compressor. Polyethylene bags which contain filtered water produce ice blocks through the energy of the current. Garman river turbines (or the very similar Tyson- and VHL-turbines) are well known technologies. Their typical power output is 300 – 500 W and they are mainly used for house lightning, cellphone recharging, etc. In contrast to the conventional turbines, the River Ice turbine is connected directly to a mechanical compressor, which cools down through polyethylene bags containing water, thus producing ice blocks. For this system to work, a river must have a minimum depth of 1.7m and a flow rate of at least 0.6 m/sec. If the energy flow of a river surpasses 12 kWh/day, it is sufficient to produce more than 250 kg/24 h of ice in tropical areas with temperatures of 30ºC or higher. According to Aprotec, the River Ice plant allows a direct cost saving of about 66%, compared to usual ice production methods.
Fits in any hand pump, avoids waste of water
Categories: Water & Waste Water
Organization: Nile Center for Alternative Technology - Australia
Contact: Rowan Matthews-Frederick
Used by: Sudan
Permafunnel is an internal funnel, which is easily installed in hand pumps in order to provide a straight water flow. It is machined from the food grade plastic UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) and is fully inserted into the spout of a hand pump. The outer diameter is selected to ensure a slight interference which fits with the inside of the spout and can be installed by using a hammer or alternatively, a hydraulic press. The inner diameter is designed to prevent restriction of the water flow at the highest possible pump rates. The funnel is cut at a 45 degree angle to enable it to be fitted deep inside the outlet spout. The upper part is specifically shaped to calm and guide the water flow. The correct size is selected to match the particular pump spout diameter and the installation is quick and simple. It can be fitted following the manufacture and prior to installation or also, into previously assembled hand pumps. It is not limited to a certain hand pump model.
Peepoo – Single-use...
Recyclable single-use toilet bags
Categories: Waste Management & Recycling, Water & Waste Water
Organization: Peepoople - Sweden
Contact: Anders Wilhelmson
Used by: Bangladesh, Haiti, India, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa
Peepoo is a personal, single-use toilet which sanitizes human excreta shortly after defecation, thereby preventing faeces from contaminating and spreading lethal diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. After use, urea inside Peepoo inactivates harmful pathogens in the faeces within 2-4 weeks. It is designed in the form of a slim elongated outer bag with a wider inner funnel that expands the opening while using it. After use, Peepoo is sealed with a knot that makes it completely airtight. It works as a micro-treatment plant: With the help of the enzyme urease present in the human faeces, the urea in Peepoo breaks down to carbon dioxide and ammonia. Each Peepoo can contain up to 800 ml of faeces and urine. To facilitate usage, Peepoo can be fitted on any standard 1-3 liter container/bucket or the specially designed Peepoo seat/holder for sitting or squatting, called Peepoo Kiti. Peepoo remains odor-free for at least 12 hours after use and can be stored in the immediate environment.
Solar tracking & water filtration in one simple device
Categories: Energy, Water & Waste Water
Organization: Roseicollis Technologies Inc. - USA
Contact: Eden Full
Used by: India, Kenya, Mexico, Tanzania, Uganda
The SunSaluter is a dual-incentive passive solar tracking and water filtration system, which optimizes existing solar infrastructure by collecting up to 40% more energy and simultaneously providing clean drinking water. Solar tracking is achieved through balancing the weight on both ends of the solar panel. Controlled water flow adapts the balance of the solar panel, which is secured on a bamboo frame with a rotatable axis, to the direction of the solar radiation. The system is suitable for areas with near zenith angles of the sun, such as tropical and subtropical regions. The SunSaluter does not require electricity and can be manufactured from local materials for less than 40 USD. As an add-on to the system, a filter unit constructed from either silver-coated ceramic or biosand is placed below the water container. Both ceramic and biosand filters trap up to 99.9% of contaminants and microorganisms in the filter pore (according to entrants) . Filter units can be locally procured for less than 10 USD.
Affordable rural biogas digester
Categories: Energy, Waste Management & Recycling
Organization: SimGas BV - Netherlands
Contact: Sanne Castro
Used by: Kenya, Tanzania
SimGas BV from the Netherlands has developed a system which circumvents the main problems arising for conventional biogas solutions. The GesiShamba (“Farm-Gas”) presents an affordable high-quality fixed dome biogas system designed for livestock holders in (sub-)tropical areas. It is mass-produced in recycled HDPE (high density polyethylen) which reduces material costs, while accelerating the transport and installation process. The biogas system uses manure and organic waste to produce gas for cooking and the effluent is used as a valuable fertilizer to nourish crops. The GesiShamba was constructed as an all-rounder, which means that it can also be used for co-digestion of (non-lignin) biodegradable materials, further improving the gas yield. The systems are economical, transportable, modular, expandable and easy to install – qualities which current biogas systems do not possess.
The Fish Farm
Micro-intensive process for sustainable fish production
Categories: Food & Agriculture
Organization: The Business Place - South Africa
Contact: Alan Fleming
Used by: South Africa
The Fish Farm is a patented, micro-intensive fish farm designed within the confines of a 12-metre shipping container, delivering 2–4 tons of tilapia (or other species) annually. By placing a series of tanks, filters and pumps inside a container, the product immediately delivers a profitable, affordable, transportable and replicable aquaculture business into poor urban or rural communities.The Prototype comprises 6 tanks (in a row) of 1,500 liters each, a 200 liters solids filter (to deal with the solid waste) and a 5,000 liters bio-filter (to deal with the chemical waste), a circulation pump and an aerator. The Fish Farm dumps 1% of its volume per day to maintain water quality. A fish farmer would be able to supply this fertilized water to the vegetable farmers. The required space for the Fish-Farm is minimal. The energy for its operation can be obtained by solar power. The Fish Farm is a simple and environmentally compatible way of ensuring food security, creating jobs and making profits.
Democratizing Infrared Satellite Data
Categories: Information & Communication Technology
Organization: The DuKode Studio - USA
Contact: Arlene Ducao
OpenIR is an ICT (information communication technology) that maps the environmental risks and features, which are revealed by infrared satellite data. This includes algorithms for flood risk map generations and a web map application. OpenIR’s initial validation case will take place in Indonesia. At the same time, OpenIR collaborates with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to determine additional validation and use case scenarios. OpenIR also works towards interfacing flood risk maps with crowd maps and allow global access to this data. OpenIR’s initial component is a geo-server system that serves visible and infrared spectrum data into web map layers. Currently, the team runs tests on processing and serving data in-house and/or using data from Google’s Earth Engine that will soon be available. The team created a prototype of a Risk Map Builder, which automatically generates a flood risk map for any given area. The goal is to expand the resolution based on additional inputs. OpenIR exists as a prototype that is currently undergoing user testing and data validation.
Mapeo de Napas con...
Soil research innovation
Categories: Food & Agriculture, Water & Waste Water
Organization: Estudio G&D - Argentina
Contact: Mariano Delbuono
Used by: Argentina
Georadar technology can be used to map and to determine the depth of water tables. Even without rain water, water can be provided for crops, if the roots come into contact with the water table zone. Georadar (GPR, Ground Penetrating Radar) is used as a non-destructive technique for low-depth subsoil investigation, which produces excellent results in terms of soil profile mapping. It consists of an electromagnetic waves unit and a second digital recording system unit. Wave reflection time delays and wave speed in the material containing the antennae, are used to deduce the depth at which the reflector unit (pipe) is located. The georadar generates a subsoil image with high lateral and vertical resolution which not only identifies specific objects, but also characterizes the area. The depth of penetration and the resolution depend on which type of antenna is used. In high-resolution urban areas shielded antennas are used, because they are better equipped to control noise and air reflections with high-quality imaging and a depth range of up to 10 m. Estudio G&D uses existing technology in a new context. The innovation is the compact, small-scale technology, which makes it easy to transport. Thus big areas can be analyzed without costly and labor-intensive drillings. Deeper soil and ground water levels can also be detected.
Wheelchair for rough ground
Organization: GRIT - USA
Contact: Tish Scolnik
Used by: Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Philippines, Vietnam, Uganda
The Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) was designed by the development team at MIT to help people with physical disabilities in developing countries and has been in operation since 2008. It has been tested in East Africa, Central America and India. The LFC uses a unique lever drivetrain which makes it faster than conventional wheelchairs and enables it to travel over extremely rough terrain. Instead of using gears and derailleurs which are likely to break under the rough conditions in developing countries, the user can change gears and achieves a 3:1 change in mechanical advantage by simply moving his hands up and down a set of levers that are connected to the drivetrain. Grabbing high on the levers provides more torque to get over obstacles, while grabbing low on the levers increases angular velocity for fast travel on smooth ground. By using common bicycle parts in the production of the LFC, the costs are kept low and users, even in rural villages, can easily repair and maintain the product themselves.
Affordable water distillation system using solar energy.
Categories: Water & Waste Water
Contact: Gabriele Diamanti
Used by: Italy (Prototype)
Eliodomestico is an innovative solar distiller for households, designed to function without filters or electricity. The device is made from readily available materials, such as burnt clay and tin metal, and can be entirely produced by local craftsmen. The body is made of two earthenware parts. The evaporator (black boiler) and the condenser consist of tin-welded metal sheets. The freshwater bowl is made of clay. Its design takes into account the habit of transporting objects on the head. The choice of materials, shape and colors also relies on technical reasons, such as the thermal insulation, ventilation, heat resistance, absorption or exchange. In the morning, the dirty or salty water is filled in a water tank, and in the evening, clean water can be collected. The water evaporates and re-condenses in a portable recipient placed underneath the tank. The prototype model which has a diameter of 60 cm and a surface area of 0.28 m², produces around 3 liters per day. This results in the production of around 10 liters per day per square meter of surface.
ECAR - arsenic-safe...
Vital water purification
Categories: Water & Waste Water
Organization: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab - USA
Contact: Ashok Gadgil
Used by: India
ECAR is a highly effective ultra low-cost water treatment technology designed to bring locally affordable and sustainable arsenic-safe water to rural communities. In ECAR, or ElectroChemical Arsenic Remediation, ordinary steel plates use low voltage electricity to produce iron oxide (e.g. rust) particles in water that adsorb and trap arsenic. During the process, arsenite (which is more toxic and difficult to remove) is converted into arsenate, allowing the process to be highly effective under robust conditions. Treated water exceeds international WHO standards for arsenic and iron across many groundwater sources. The electrodes are cleaned by reversing the current, making operation and maintenance simple and non-hazardous. The technology was designed to work within a sustainable service delivery model that can cover the cost of an electricity source and still sell arsenic-safe water at a locally affordable price while simultaneously covering all costs. The requirements for maintenance are low and electrode passivation can be limited by reversing voltage regularly. Operating ECAR is simple and non-hazardous: voltage is very low (about 3 V DC) and no corrosive chemicals are needed. ECAR can be operated by trained local community members. Operating costs are extremely low (~ 0.04 USD/l), making it possible to sell the arsenic-safe water at a locally affordable price while simultaneously covering the expenses.
ROTOR – Swimming...
Categories: Energy, Water & Waste Water
Organization: mobile hydro
Contact: Markus Heinsdorff
Used by: Germany (Prototype)
Rotor is a small, hydro power plant, which provides an easy way to generate electricity by using the current of a river. A vertical axis water wheel is mounted in the center of a circular tube. Induced by the flow of a river, the wheel turns like a turbine. The rotational energy is transferred by the axis to a wheel where several conventional bicycle dynamos - in the advanced version a specially designed generator - transform the kinetic energy into electricity. The rotor is fixed to the embankment, a bridge or something similar by mooring ropes. The prototype rotor consists of a tractor tire tube, flat bar steel as frame construction, bicycle dynamos and blades made of sheet. All of the used materials are substitutable and are therefore available worldwide for little money. A flow speed of 1.5m/s can provide an output of up to 150W. An online-Do-It-Yourself manual will be created, which offers a variety of possible materials to be used. Moreover, an affordable pre-fabricated construction kit which includes the important parts, i.e. tire tube, blade profiles, canvas cover and a specific generator is being developed. The objective is to provide a stable power output of approximately 100W.
Polycentric prosthetic knee for amputees
Organization: D-Rev (Design Revolution) - United States
Contact: Krista Donaldson
Used by: Columbia, Ecuador, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda
ReMotion Knee is an affordable, polycentric prosthetic knee designed for amputees in developing countries. Using durable, polymer-based materials with proven polycentric mechanism, instead of the typical steel or titanium, the ReMotion Knee is designed to improve usability and manufacturability. It has simple, universal attachments to interface with standard prosthetic leg systems, is made up of five components and four standard fasteners and weighs less than 0.5 kg – one of the lightest knees on the market. The knee’s 165-degree range of motion makes movements possible that are relevant to local cultures. Its lifespan has shown to exceed 3-5 years (3 million gait cycles), which is consistent with the benchmark set by prosthetics available on Western markets. The solution also addresses sensitive user issues, such as smooth and quiet operation, critical quality and bandwidth problems with local manufacturing through injection molding for mass production.
Portable carrier allows transport of valuable biogas
Categories: Energy, Food & Agriculture, Waste Management & Recycling
Organization: University of Hohenheim - Germany
Contact: Katrin Pütz
Used by: Bangladesh, Botswana, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Portugal, Switzerland, Tanzania
The Biogas Backpack is a pillow shaped balloon from flexible, gas tight material, plastic sheet and fabric. The two inner layers are made of gas tight PE-sheet, welded at the two open ends and equipped with a welded, threaded flange, holding a mini ball valve. The backpack is filled with biogas from the biogas plant by simple pressure equalization instead of by pump or compressor. Therefore, it does not need to be equipped with a security valve to release gas in the case of over pressure.
Mobile Solar Kiosk
Organization: African Renewable Energy Distributor - Rwanda
Contact: Henri Nyakarundi
Used by: Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda
The Mobile Solar Cell Phone Charger (MSCC) is a mobile charging point, which can be attached to bicycles and mopeds. It offers a micro solution to quickly charge cell phones for people on the go, using renewable energy technology. The Quick Charge has two retractable solar panels with 40 watts each at the top, a lock system to keep the cell phone system and the solar panels secured at night, as well as, a lithium battery to store electricity for night charging. A manual charging mechanism can be used when the device is on a stationary position and in the case of bad weather. Since the whole system is on wheels, MSCC can go where the customers are or where they gather, such as at market places, churches or bus stops. The whole unit is fitted onto a plastic body, which can also offer space for advertisement. The product is only a prototype at this stage.