from the helpful-contributions dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "About 60 people from 20 nations will descend on the MIT campus July 14th for the second annual International Development Design Summit to begin an intensive month-long process of creating technological solutions for the needs of people in the world's developing nations. The goal of the program is to develop simple, inexpensive devices that in some cases can be produced locally and make a real difference for people and communities. The event is the brainchild of MIT Senior Lecturer Amy Smith, a returned Peace Corps volunteer and a past winner of the MacArthur 'genius' grant. Previous products of Smith's design class include a bike-powered corn sheller, a metal press that can make clean-burning fuel out of agricultural waste, and an electricity-free incubator. The workshop promotes a shift in focus among companies, universities, investors and scientists toward attacking problems that hamper development in the world's poorest places. 'Nearly 90 percent of research and development dollars are spent on creating technologies that serve the wealthiest 10 percent of the world's population,' Ms. Smith said. 'The point of the design revolution is to switch that.'"
"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple
system that worked."
-- John Gall, _Systemantics_