Participant Forum: App Tech

Appropriate Technologies!

Picture of Erin Call
Appropriate Technologies!
by Erin Call - Thursday, February 18, 2021, 3:41 PM

Solar Dehydrators: The systems made in this video are simple, doable, and can be made with repurposed materials. It is inexpensive and affordable, especially when you compare it to a commercial/machine dehydrator. It is useful and can be used to create long-term food storage and reduce food waste by preserving excess fresh food harvests. It is sustainable using renewable power, preserving food and doesn’t require a lot of work for humans. It is only limited by the weather and the amount of sunlight/heat that the environment receives. It can be scaled up and down to fit anyone’s needs and in that way space is unlimited. This is something that I definitely want to apply to my site for creating food for wintertime, preserving harvests, and having a resilient food supply. 

Bicycle Power: I love how the creator and narrator spoke about Guatemala being an underdeveloped country and wanting machines and diesel-powered energy, yet, he convinced them of the power of the bicycle machine. So many appropriate technologies really go back to the basics. A clothes dryer machine is really so behind the times, while line-drying your clothes is innovative, simple, and solar-powered. The bike machine is multifunctional, it is a tool, processes food, and gives the human exercise. It is sustainable by using human/renewable power, extremely low energy use, and can be endlessly repaired. It is only limited by the capacity of the human who operates it. It can be created from cheap and/or repurposed materials. In Guatemala, this tool also operated within a community and strengthened the idea of working together and sharing. The reach of this tool could be expanded and upgraded to do endless amounts of function.

I also watched the above YouTube video that highlights sixteen appropriate technologies for a post-fossil fuel world. It was wildly inspirational and exciting! My three favorites were the “Waterotor”, “Smart Flower Solar”, and “Pavegen”. The Waterotor is a small turbine that can easily be installed into any river or canal or on a boat. It is safe for aquatic wildlife and migrating fish. It is designed specifically for slow-moving water and works in currents as slow as 2 mph. The Smart Flower Solar is a flower-shaped solar panel that mimics the way sunflowers absorb solar energy. This design is using the concept of biomimicry. The solar panels have a tracking system that tracks the sun the way that flowers do. It is pretty and looks like an art installation! The Pavegen are floor tiles that generate electricity with footsteps. It creates about 5 watts of power per step and is great for heavily-trafficked areas. A few of these placed in a subway station for a day (with high traffic) were sufficient to charge a Tesla. There are so many technologies that we already have developed and simple solutions that can be used to make our lives more convenient, sustainable, holistic, and combat climate change. These technologies from this video are less accessible to the public due to affordability and access. However, they make great inspiration for DIY systems.