Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 22 - Pyromaniacs, Paul Polak and Participant Presentations

The final week of IDDS 2008 began with our final charcoal burn. We are all very grateful for our Charcoal Crushing team this year as their seemingly unquenchable demand for charcoal corn cobs has led to us having so many of these exciting events. As it turns out, the pyromaniancs in our group will rise as early as 730am once they know there is going to be a large open flame on show before eight o'clock! The atmosphere at the Kresge was one of intense excitement though, as teams plotted the final stages of their projects over veggie burgers and eggs roasted on sticks.

The group admire the roasting heat early in the morning

Jessica Vechakul puts safety first?

Paul Polak then presented to the participants for the second time during the conference. IDDS 2008 was delighted to have this mercurial psychiatrist turned entrepreneur back in our midst, even if it was only for twenty four hours. He spoke to us about the marketing and implementation processes that were crucial to the success of any new appropriate technology. He highlighted the specific nature of markets in the developing world and spoke further on his theory that you must first speak to twenty five people in a village before you can even begin to understand the specific needs and problems that exist there.

Paul Polak speaks to participants about the importance of product implementation

He went on to challenge the participants and teams to use hime as a resource and speak to him individually about their specific projects and how they could be made applicable to the market. Alvaro, of the Ropeway Transport team, pointed out that their team were attempting to meet a specific need, that of women in a particular village in the Himalayas, and as such had no plans to scale up their projerct as of yet.

Jagdish Bhandari of India makes some adjustments to one of the Ropeway towers

The teams spent the vast majority of the day in the workshops building and testing their prototpyes in preparation for the final presentations on Wednesday. Some teams appear closer to their final prototype than others but Amy, speaking from her experience of IDDS 2007, is confident that come Wednesday, all the teams will have their projects ready for presentation, even if it means working through the night! Due to thew huge diversity in the range of the projects some teams will have a far more concrete prototpye than others. Projects such as the power generation from treadle pump, the charcoal crusher and the pearl millet thresher are mechanically based and as such will (hopefully) have a working proptype to show on Wednesday. On the other hand the Hand Held Diagnostic tool, the Breast milk project and the Educational TV computer will need to be continued on after the summit has ended and therefore they will not have 'working' prototpes per se.

Lico and Limbor work out the pressure to be exerted in their stabilized soil block maker

Madeleine with a transportable model of the low cost incubator

One would have thought that this would have been more than enough to keep the IDDS participants' busy but apparently not - this evening we were treated to yet another round of participant presentations. These have been a real highlight of this year's conference, with participants eager both to share the work they are doing at home and to learn about technologies, design methods, experiences and ideas that others have to offer. Brian Rasnow presented on an extremely interesting project he had been working on to attempt to produce a low cost microscope and we were also given the chance to hear from participants from Honduras, Zambia and even from Texas, USA. Not even a moment to draw breath for the participants after this as they rushed back to their all important projects!

Kenneth Muyayaeta gives a presentation on the work he does with Disacare International in his native Zambia

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