Participant Forum: App Tech

App Tech and not-so-tech project

Picture of Sandy Zhang
App Tech and not-so-tech project
by Sandy Zhang - Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 4:07 AM

The study material of this week is very interesting and practical. I enjoyed watching the technology innovation video a lot. They are all great ideas meeting many of the criteria listed. For example, the bike-powered equipment is easy to understand, affordable, and using human power as the source of the energy. However, the biggest limitation of this technology is it is hard to transfer energy from where it is generated to where it is most needed. For example, the village people who are operating the bikes are all hard-working farmers who would probably view “biking” another form of work. So this equipment didn’t save energy, it just changed what the farmers would otherwise do with hands to a bike that they still need to ride. On the other hand, imaging the people in the urban city cycling in the gym – what if one could harvest these energy and transfer these energy to the village – these are actually the energy that would otherwise be wasted. I found this limitation also lies in other technology mentioned in the video – the compost heat and solar head could not be easily transferred to the urban spots when it is more needed. In fact, I wish there would be more innovation in the future that would help better address the issue in the urban life where the most carbon footprint produced and the most energy consumed. 

On a separate notion (a bit far away from the topic), I was inspired by the “compost vegetable bin” idea mentioned in Bill Mollison’s book and built a couple of raised vegetable beds with some old wire net and cardboards. I filled them with the garden wastes and a small layer of soil on the top. I casted some parsley seeds, hope the heat from the compost would keep them warm in the winter. It’s a half hour project of only a few dollar’s cost of soil - not high-technology, but a lot of joy to build it :) 


Picture of Christopher Schmitt
Re: App Tech and not-so-tech project
by Christopher Schmitt - Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 1:54 PM

Hi Sandy,

My family was thinking the same thing about the bicycle-powered technology. We think it is a fantastic idea, but like you, we also thought that: A. It seemed to be an awful lot of women, especially older women, doing all of the work, and B. the energy produced would not be in the location ultimately desirable in the end, such as high-traffic cities and populated urban areas. My kids had two about putting some kids on those bikes, so that they can feel that they are helping to fulfill the needs of the family and community, but also have tons of fun in the meantime. Little kids have lots of energy, and maybe they could feel like they are helping out, and they are an integral part of the process! Just an idea based on incorporating the whole family and channeling boundless young energy! :)

We really like your compost-seed bin--it looks simple and practical--and we hope it goes, or GROWS, well!

Chris and family