Life-Saving Low-Tech: 11 Ideal Third-World Gadgets

Eole Water Turbine: Turning Wind Into Water

(image via: eole water)

How do you turn wind into water? With the Eole Water turbine, a new system that can produce hundreds of liters of drinking water per day from the desert air of Abu Dhabi. Even in the dry environment of the United Arab Emirates, the turbine siphons water condensation from the air and produces just enough energy to pump the water into storage tanks and power a purification system. The turbine would work even better in areas with higher humidity, like along the coast. While this isn’t exactly a low-tech gadget, it’s an all-in-one system that can provide drinking water for a large number of people in areas of the world where water is scarce, making it a potential cost-efficient life-saver.

Low-Tech Solar Shower

(image via: coroflot)

When there’s not enough clean water to drink, there’s bound to be even less for bathing – and that can mean the spread of pathogens. Simple, low-tech hygiene solutions can make a big difference in the developing world. Product designer Michael Kilbane developed a simple, affordable solar-heated shower that can be made with inexpensive, readily available materials. It consists of a 5-gallon black water jug, a pulley system and a shower tray or basin. The jug is big enough to provide a heated 16-minute shower, which can of course be split up between multiple uses.

Solar Pebbles: Small Sun-Powered Lights

(image via: plus minus solar)

Many rural families living in places without electricity rely on potentially dangerous kerosene lamps or candles in order to light their homes at night. A company called Plus Minus Solar envisions replacing all of those open flames with small solar-powered lights that can strap onto a backpack or be placed on any surface to charge during the day. The Solar Pebble is also capable of charging small devices like phones.

Soccket: Soccer Ball that Generates Energy for Light

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Play by day, light by night. The Soccket is an ingenious mashup of sports equipment and solar power, gathering energy from movement as it’s kicked around in a game of soccer. The Soccket provides light and can also be used to charge a cell phone. Just 15 minutes of play can provide three hours of LED-powered light.

Solar-Powered Rainproof Light Bulb

(images via: nokero)

Another solution that reduces the need for kerosene in developing countries is the N200, a solar-powered light bulb by Nokero. Called the most economical solar light on the market, the N200 pays for itself in 15 days to two months by eliminating the need for candles or lamp fuel. Safe for use in the rain, this little light has a battery hat will last for about 1.5 years and will shine for over six hours on its low setting when fully charged.

Brilliant, Super-Simple Mosquito Trap

We can all relate to the annoyance of mosquitoes in warm weather, but for some people, it’s a matter of life and death. Mosquitoes spread malaria and other blood-borne diseases, so keeping them to a minimum in living areas is extremely important – but most mosquito-killing or trapping solutions are expensive or toxic. Not this one. You can create a highly effective mosquito trap yourself with nothing more than an empty two-liter bottle, some brown sugar and black paper. See images and get the tutorial at DIY Happy.