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SMART STUFF | ARCHIVE | THIRD WORLD | Next >

Welcome to the Smart Stuff section with smart gadgets, inventions and ideas that may make life in the Third World safer and easier. Below, and on the other pages, you'll find our constantly updated archive of the world's smartest inventions for places without electricity or reliable water supply.



Swedish paper sleeping bag can save lives.
We went past Svensk Form at Skeppsholmen in Stockholm the other day to see the exhibition
Improving Life featuring Swedish innovations. Many of the exhibited products we have seen previously, like the mobile phone (yes, really!) the computer mouse, the medication inhaler and the heart pace maker among others, but the environmentally friendly disposable paper sleeping bag from DeCell was new to us. The material used is called Cellsulate™, a strong and hygienic bio-fiber laminate (basically it is paper, as far as we can understand) with very good insulating properties and very good environmentally. From this material DeCell makes disposable sleeping bags, both traditional for the outdoorsy crowd and rescue bags for disaster relief areas. They also make bed covers and blankets for hotels, hospitals and emergencies. Among their customers are the relief organization Star of Hope or Hoppets Stjärna in Swedish.

10 July 2005



A.Hand cranked radio and cell phone charger B. Hand cranked radio and cell phone charger

Everybody should have an emergency radio...
The idea of crank radios was invented by Trevor Baylis, a clever Brit who got to thinking how self-powered radios could improve life and communications in Africa, where there is no power and no C-stores with a fresh supply of Energizers. The one on the left (A) comes from Grundig and gives you an hours worth of listening for sixty revs on the crank. It also sports a built-in flashlight (torch), is reasonably weather protected (ABS plastic), has rechargeable batteries, AM/FM/SW1/SW2 bands, headphone socket and a carrying case. It is USD 49:98 in the US, but it should be available here, too. The one on the right (B) lets you trade ninety turns on the crank for 25 minutes of listening. It is weather protected, has AM/FM bands, an alarm clock (with own batteries), a flashlight, emergency siren and is claimed to be able to recharge your cell (how this is to happen is not explained). Available at X-treme Geek, for USD 28:49. From X-treme Geek.

7 July 2005




EcoBlast reuseable fog horn

Inflatable fog horn or emergency siren.
It is possibly meant to be an emergency signaling device for small boats, but the tip on the siren comes from Christine, who uses it to scare angry dogs on her daily bike trips. We cannot conclude where Christine lives, but she must have a serious dog problem in her neighborhood. We found her tip on one of our favorite sites of all time; Cool Tools. The siren, that looks to be using a re-cycled PET soft drink bottle, is pumped to pressure with a bicycle pump, called EcoBlast and USD 20:- on Amazon.

US flag 4 July 2005




Dynamo flashlight

Battery free dynamo flashlight.
Everybody and every home should have an emergency flashlight in case of at power outage or other unforeseen event where a little illumination would be helpful. The best flashlights, in this respect at least, are in our humble opinion the dynamo driven ones, i.e the ones that do not need batteries. We think other people are like us, and keep forgetting the batteries. This flashlight comes from Swedish Homeshop where it's SEK 98:50 (approx. USD 13:-), but there are plenty of other lights out there.

11 June 2005



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