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What's Next: Phillip Torrone
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Over the last few years we've seen an explosive growth in blogs, RSS, wikis and video sharing - for 2007 and beyond this will continue at an incredible pace, but the next challenge is making it "useful" for learning and manufacturing in developing countries. Projects like the OLPC (one laptop per child) are just one of many physical hardware solutions to information distribution, not *the* solution, just one of them. I also think we'll see open source hardware and open hardware projects provide a lot of opportunities to build physical things and share back the skills and iterations. It will be a little messy, and not coordinated at first, but things will happen.

One example - A doctor in India, Sathya Jeganathan made a baby warmer from standard light bulbs, these devices normally cost over $4,000 and they're expensive to maintain - her version for about $100 isn't the best, but it's better than what they had, nothing - the mortality rate at her hospital is down 50%.

While this wouldn't pass any medical certification in the USA and other countries, these plans, once distributed to developing areas, can save lives. Companies can't really help out here, it's a person to person effort with some just-in-time learning needed for a specific task or problem. It's not ideal, but it's what we can do for now.

With low cost hardware to access information (like the OLPC), how-tos, schematics and open and ways to share information, we'll see local know-how bubble up and modern skills distributed. Sites like Instructables might end up being internationally bookmarked for everything from water purification how-tos, to low cost heating.

Phillip Torrone is the Senior editor at MAKE magazine.

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Comments

When I first read your posting I was tempted to suggest that the least expensive baby warmer may be her mummy. Which also saves in antidepressants for the mother.

On second thoughts, I realise we need both "useful content" (instructables and such) and "content delivery" (through human networks of all sorts). We need to master both. And they will reinforce each other.

Over at Flu Wiki, a number of folks are trying to imagine what it will be like to live through the next influenza pandemic, which might start any day and might be really deadly (the "no reason for the virus to get milder" mantra by WHO experts). Many imagine we may have need to be self-sufficient in basic things. Suddenly.

There are even some "instructables" for "good home care of (pandemic) influenza" (click on my username). With a few translations underway. Just in case you can lend a hand or two.

Thanks!


Posted by: lugon on 28 Dec 06

There's also a how-to about coughing and sneezing properly. Sure you know how?

Click on my username to see the video. Or google for "Ben Lounsbury".

Spread the meme, not the virus.


Posted by: lugon on 28 Dec 06



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