less by design

Foldscope – an inexpensive paper microscope

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By Lorrin Windahl.

Every now and again a product comes along that can change the lives of thousands. Foldscope is just such a product. This low cost microscope could enable health centres, in impoverished regions around the world, to analyse samples themselves rather than have to send them away for testing. Thus reducing the waiting time for patients to receive results and begin treatment.

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WarkaWater – reducing hardship for rural Ethiopians

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By Lorrin Windahl.

Hopefully, by now, most people are aware of the hardship associated with obtaining clean drinking water in many parts of Africa. I have actually witnessed primary school children carrying 20 litre jerry cans full of water for long distances. Jerry cans that, when full, I couldn’t even lift. To address this issue, Architecture and Vision have developed WarkaWater, a water harvester for rural Ethiopia.

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The Longboard Stroller – sustainable urban mobility

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By Lorrin Windahl.

I must say that I’m pretty excited by this latest product discovery. Not only does it appeal to the sustainable designer in me, but the mum of a one year old as well. The Longboard Stroller is still in development but with prototype testing underway hopefully it will be in stores soon.

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The Lightie: shining light on a real world problem

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By Lorrin Windahl.

To many people, light is a luxury that is often taken for granted. We simply turn on a light switch and hey, presto, there is light. But this is not the case for the masses of people who lack access to an electricity grid. Instead, for them, light still comes with the strike of a match and the very real danger of fire. Generally the result of poverty and lack of infrastructure, for these people electricity is still a long way off. But, there is light at the end of this tunnel (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) thanks to creative thinkers such as Michael Suttner.
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The disposable toothbrush: is there a better way?

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By Lorrin Windahl.

It’s amazing, and somewhat shameful, that I brush my teeth twice a day and only recently stopped to consider the environmental impact of my bi-daily brushing. I buy a toothbrush from the supermarket, which lasts probably several months (I’m a bit slow to realize it is worn out), and then I throw the whole toothbrush in the bin. But it’s only the bristles that are worn out. The rest of the brush is still good. Surely, there is a more sustainable alternative. Perhaps replaceable heads like on electric toothbrushes?
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World Design Impact Prize 2013-2014

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By Lorrin Windahl.

The World Design Impact Prize (WDIP) runs on the premise that many of the world’s societal challenges have already been solved but that these solutions remain unrecognised or untapped. The aim of the prize is to bring existing solutions to the fore amongst a wider community, in the hope of accelerating their uptake.
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ReKixx: closed loop sneakers

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By Lorrin Windahl.

If you are looking for a stocking filler then this probably isn’t going to help. However, if you are happy to put a little note in the stocking saying their present will arrive next year, then it certainly might be a chance. I’m talking about ReKixx sneakers, shoes that will make you feel a little better about your consumer purchase.
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Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

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By Lorrin Windahl.

There is great debate about whether it is more ‘green’ to have a fake tree or a real one. I don’t really want to enter into this debate but I will say that there are a few things to consider, from an environmental point of view,¬†before buying either.
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NeoNurture: the car parts incubator for developing countries

NeoNurture

By Lorrin Windahl.

A lot of second-hand medical devices are donated to developing countries. Although carried out with good intentions, the devices never quite have the impact that was envisaged for them by the donator. The problem is, that when they fail there are no spare parts available locally and no-one knows how to fix them. So, instead of helping to save lives they are left to collect dust in the corner of the room. The NeoNurture incubator by Design That Matters (DTM) aims to overcome this problem.
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FluidSolids: a new biocomposite material

FS Bowl by FluidSolids.

By Lorrin Windahl.

Swiss product designer Beat Karrer, has developed a new material called FluidSolids. The material came out of a desire to make design the driving force, rather than having to adapt the design to suit the material. Not only did a new material emerge however, but a new company as well.
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