Appropriate Technology

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Welcome to the Nottingham Hackspace Appropriate Technology group. We try to meet once per month to discuss and work on projects relating to appropriate technology and international development. Please come along and get involved.

Appropriate technology workshop.jpg


What is appropriate technology?

The term 'intermediate technology' was coined by the economist E.F. Schumacher who wrote the book “Small is beautiful - Economics as if people mattered”. He actually wrote that there is an 'appropriate size for everything'

  • “encompassing technological choice and application that is small scale, labour intensive, energy efficient, environmentally sound and locally controlled”
  • People centred ideas

Guiding principles

Hackers and makers and tinkerers all enjoy a challenge. The idea behind the NHAT group is to work on ideas and projects which are useful to people. We want to look at challenges faced by people both at home and abroad. The main principles are to keep things simple and appropriate to the people using the equipment. Sometimes this will be as simple as a mud-brick oven, other times more technology may be appropriate, such as for communications. We are looking at the long-term sustainability of all the projects we work on.

Why do we do it?

Some numbers that help to put things into perspective:

  • 1 in 4 people in the world without access to electricity
  • 1 in 6 people in the world never touched a phone
  • 1 in 3 people in the world has access to a computer
  • 75% energy used in 'developed' countries
  • 1 in 5 people in the world does not have access to safe drinking water
  • 1 in 3 people in the world does not have access to adequate sanitation

Main Projects

These are projects we as a group are actively working on:

Solar Lanterns and chargers

We wanted to look into building solar lights and solar battery chargers using recycled and scrapped equipment.

More information about the solar chargers workshop is here

On another day we looked at using the Joule Thief to power an LED from a solar charged AA battery.

Find information about us building Joule Thief's here

Woodburning workshop

Looking at the efficient burning of wood in various forms. This will mean looking at:

  • Rocket stoves
  • Efficient burning of wood

Some links are here, please add more:

Build your own solar panel

Here are details for people to build their own solar electric panel This is the best design I have seen and has been pioneered and improved by Norman Phipps who runs a course to build them at LILI (Low Impact Living Initiative). He has been building them in groups in Africa. It would be good to get him along to do an afternoon on this.

Project Ideas

This where we are listing ideas for things to design and build in the future, but we are probably not actively working on.

Micro hydro electronic load controller

A bit of an overview is here

Water pumping systems

It would be great to build some of these simple water pumps but there are already some very good designs for these so we are unsure of how we could improve those designs.

  • Rope and washer pump

A rope washer pump is a very simple and inexpensive way of lift water. Some details on rope washer pumps are here. A nice model rope pump is here

Pedal power equipment

Maya pedal machines

Contacts

These are some groups we either have contact with or would like to make contact with. We would really like to link up with hack spaces, fab labs, development NGOs and inventors from around the world. Please get in touch if you have an idea or a useful contact.

Useful and Interesting links

Past meetings

Monday September 19th 2011 - Inaugural meeting. The main ideas and principles were discussed. Thursday October 20th 2011 - Building solar battery chargers Monday October 24th 2011 - Building a Joule Thief