M-Heal versus Local Surgical Lamp Design
University of Michigan's M-Heal biomedical engineering students are impressed and excited by their media coverage for their surgical lamp design to be imported to Uganda.
Blue-Lab versus Local Bicycle Generator Design
University of Michigan's Blue-Lab engineering students brought their human powered generator to the Dominican Republic. It worked and traveled their easily. What a great idea, right? But can it be fixed and maintained? Does it spur innovation?
BYU versus Local Merry-go-Round Generator Design
Brigham Young University mechanical engineering students brought their merry-go-round generator to Ghana (see image below on the left). It worked and traveled to Ghana successfully and installed in a school. What a great idea, right? It provides electricity to a school with children's play! But can it be fixed and maintained locally? Does it spur local innovation and economic development? The Ugandan merry-go-round generator was built with all locally available materials and expertise (see image below-center and below right). It should be installed soon now that it is finished, but we do not have pictures to share at this time.
More on Community-Based Projects
University of Michigan engineering students used a curriculum module created by Abigail Mechtenberg for Panos Papalambros' senior design course. Their economic model of locally designed and built merry-go-round generators estimated a net profit of $1,000,000 USD in five years based on the extreme demand for off-grid schools in Uganda. Whether or not their economic model is accurate, the point illustrates results similar to Bottom-of-the-Pyramid business research: microenterprise solutions to a vibrant market is profitable. The real question is how to invest in this project to create this type of community-based market for off-grid electricity generation projects.