The world needs a lot of help these days, particularly in developing countries. Here are three innovations that are truly intriguing:
- World Cart: While traveling through Peru, Charles and Amy Wood–two students from Brigham Young University (BYU)–met a family that raised vegetables to sell but had no good way to transport them to market. To meet this need, they designed the World Cart. Made from two sheet of plywood, the cart offers an affordable, functional, and easy-to-assemble mode of transportation.
- FiberFix: Described as duct tape on steroids, FiberFix is a product developed by Spencer and Martin Quinn–two students from BYU. They heard about a doctor repairing an ATV using the type of medical tape used for casting broken bones. This discovery evolved into a product for repairing tools and the like. After nearly 100 prototypes, the pair now have a waterproof wrap that can withstand 3,000 pounds of pressure. Spencer recently appeared on the TV show Shark Tank and he walked off with $120,000 from an investor with ties to QVC. In developing countries, Fiberfix would seem to have wide application for making repairs and strengthening structural products.
- PowerPot: The PowerPot is a cooking pot that doubles as a power source. This $149 camping pot transforms heat and water into a power source that can charge cell phones or other devices using thermoelectricity. The PowerPot was invented by David Toledo and Paul Slusser–two recent University of Utah graduates. David recently appeared on Shark Tank and their company received a substantial investment from Mark Cuban. One of the organizations that I travel with–Interethnic Health Alliance–has successfully tested the pots in Uganda where they are used to charge cell phones and power small lights. At the moment, the PowerPot is a little pricey for developing country applications, but hopefully as the idea catches on, the price will come down.
Whether these products catch on or not, it is important that people are thinking of possible solutions to global needs.