Demotech, design for self reliance


Search for

Description

Use the Web for providing practical education for technical schools. This knowledge helps students to contribute to local development and income generation.

Please visit also our wiki research pages. (D3)

Translate
Copyright & Open Source

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Please refer to our work and provide us with usefull feedback and comments on our design initiatives.

Liability clause

We cannot be held accountable for injuries incurred during construction or usage of our designs and construction manuals.

Bridging the Digital Divide
<< Back to category Means to get informed

Prototype Fivefold reduction of cost Applicable within poverty Education Income Rural as well as urban.



Why
Give schools and public institutions entrance to Internet for research and publications. Learn to become more self-reliant by processing this information through this computer. This issue is about the use of discarded computers and computer parts in a network to be used in a technical school.
This idea took shape at a technical school in The Gambia, 1999. At Demotech's workshop we have a stack of these discarted computers for this purpose. But how to give a practical shape to this idea?

How
Discarded computers from office computer networks are collected, tested and regrouped into educational computer network sets. These sets, using the Linux operating system, are tuned to the needs of a computer classroom, special for technical schools. Through a CD-Rom station in the server in this network students can access web-information. An educational service provides these educational CD's with recent web based info on relevant educational topics as fishery, community health, electronics, literature, political development. This way a virtual web is simulated to overcome a too costly or non existing telephone connection.



Additional information



Planned progress



Internal links

Bridging the Digital Divide to support rural life towards a sustainable future

In the small Indonesian village of Cibodas in Java/Indonesia, we taught the locals in 1980 how to build a special 'smart' water pump, so that they could build with their own hands and means.
Seven months later, eighty more of these pumps were operating in this village alone. Two years later thousands of these pumps could be found al over Indonesia.
The smart pumps spread from Indonesia through Haiti to Nicaragua. In this region more than a hundred thousand of these pumps are now in operation.
Why are the smart pumps so successful? Because they?re fully compatible with local capacity and means, and they give a better output than what industry offers. The pumps also allow for local upkeep and repair.
People who use the pumps get enthusiastic about them, and the news of their effectiveness spreads fast
While producing smart technology for rural villages is very viable, over the years it has been difficult to attain a single group of designers. A virtual community of engineers and social workers should be able to produce this ?smartness?. The need to produce and implement these pumps is urgent ?

KITE, Keys to Information, Technology, and Education

Please visit http://www.kiteinc.org/. KITE describes the value of having access to Internet from the viewpoint of development. Furthermore they give an exellent report on what is Linux specially and Open Source in general. Citing from their article, which is worthwhile reading:
Furthermore, it would be a mistake to think that Linux is inherently inappropriate for the Third World just because it is currently more inaccessible to Joe Average computer user than Microsoft products are. As any development practitioner who lives in or has traveled to the Third World knows, the "Save the Children" image of Africa, Asia, and Latin America shows only one part of the picture. Pockets of abject poverty certainly exist, and the average income of people in the developing world is much lower than in industrialized nations, but nearly all of these countries have a cadre of highly-skilled programmers who lack things like funding, software, reliable internet access, and equipment -- but not knowledge or expertise. Most of them would prefer to stay in their home countries and contribute to the support and development of technological projects that help advance the interests of their own families and communities. Unfortunately, the lack of hardware, supportive infrastructure, and subsequently job opportunities is leading many of these talented people out of their native countries and into the First World, which contributes to the much-lamented "brain drain" [Shah, 1998; Todaro, 1989].


Another group handling discarted computers for dev projects: http://www.tecschange.org/index.html



External Links

Links related to Bridging the Digital Divide

  • KITE describes the value of having access to Internet from the viewpoint of development.
    http://www.kiteinc.org/
  • Another group handling discarded computers for development projects. http://www.tecschange.org/index.html
  • Invest in Wi-Fi broadband Internet instead of in fixed telephone infrastructure as a tool for development. Cases in Mexico and California (US).
    http://www.govtech.net/magazine/channel_story.php?channel=14&id=93122
  • Alternative for scraping 50 million US computers each year
    According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next 5 years. Most of them will end up in landfills. As a result, they will not be available to non-profits, schools, and low-income families, but will instead become an environmental hazard to our communities.
    CompuMentor believes that refurbishing computers can create positive social change. A more effective computer reuse field will serve both communities in need and the environment.
    http://www.compumentor.org/recycle/default.html
  • The Indian Simputer and the Brazilian Computor Popular compared
    This paper extensively compares targets and result of the non-commercial educational approach on which the development of these computers was based.
    http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:42U6CV5Vv88J:www.sims.berkeley.edu...
  • A Second Life' for Dutch computers
    Computers regarded obsolete in the Netherlands are collected and shipped to Ghana. There they are selected and where necessary repaired. In this way the collection of an odd one hundred computers and hardware that Demotech had in store was given to this 'Second Life" project. People from this firm told us how incredibly handy Ghanian workers were to get computers working again. Such machines were then sold at the local market.
    http://www.businessindevelopment.nl/article-1012.1488.html
  • Handhelds for Health
    Handhelds for Health: SATELLIFE?s Experiences in Africa and Asia reflects what they have learned in the course of implementing handheld computer projects in a dozen countries.
    This idea may also be applicable on supporting and monitoring the introduction of the BathroomToilet-unit
    Visit: http://pda.healthnet.org/download/pdapaper1.pdf
  • Global digital divide grows wider, UW research finds
    The digital divide is becoming less like a crack and more like a canyon. "That's pretty surprising, because we expected open markets to bring technology all around the world in an even way,"
    Also: the price of Internet access: Lagos: 75% of a daily wage, Beijing 12% http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=20...
  • Send us an email form about any relevant link, that should be added here


What other people say...

If you like you can add your own comment

by Reinder - Wed Dec 06 (2000)
Bridging the Digital Devide
Today I had a second look at the contraption that holds the thin client computer and the 15\' monitor
Considerations
  • The center of the monitor screen is raised only 50 cm\'s above the floor and inclined 45 degrees backwards. This gives a comfortable compoisture for a person seated in front of the monitor on a low knee-stool (seat is inclined forward, part of the bodyweight is supported by the knees, resting on a cushioned support)
    However combined with the keyboard it now is obvious that the monitor should not be on top of the horizontal computerbox, but the computerbox should be vertically placed to the righthand side of the monitor. Monitor and computer box together have roughly the same width as the keyboard. Also the keyboard can in this way be posisioned closer to the monitor. This is important, as this minimizes the strain of constant movement of head and eyes from monitor to keyboard as in the usual working position. Now the total of keyboard and monitor can be seen in one glance, is in the DIGISIT-setup (see list of D-designs)
  • It does not seem to make sense to combine the seat and the computer/monitor box in one setup. As the computer is positioned low, it can be made standing on its hinged-out protecting cover. The knee-seat is also a device that is very simple to be made foldable and compact. So two parts instead of one. This also allows the computer box to be placed and used in the usual position on top of a table or desk
  • A hardware commputer man(Jeroen, friend of Rogier) expected no problems (such as magnetic interference) if somehow the components of the computer were placed in the box of the monitor, in a setup similar to the iMac
  • Though an integrated setup could be more compact and possibly use only one electrical feeding unit, such a new combination may introduce a totally different problem. Would it be permitted to use such a device with school kids, where it would not have been passed official screening
  • Early morning Wim Vos told me about his findings: The server funcioned properly on Linux Red Hat version 5. Wim commented Linux used consderable harddisk space, a 50 Mb. Now the client should be connected. But how could that work without any harddisk, floppy disk or local memory? I promised to check again with Peter Broekmeulen en Bart van der Vegt

    Next steps to be taken A rough setup has to be made from Plywood and boards to check the usefullness of the separate knee seat to be used in front of a low and inclined placed monitor.

  • by Reinder - Wed Dec 06 (2000)
    Second mockup for the casing of the client units of the teaching network
    As announced in the first report on making a mockup for a client PC-workplace, I made a second version of it. Now the computer box is not positioned under-, but next to, at the righthand side of the monitor and in a vertical position. The width of the monitor plus that of the computer box is about equal to the width of the keyboard. I have experimented with different positions as a new plywood box holds monitor, computer box and keyboard firmly in place. These are my findings:
  • The monitor is closer to the keyboard. This is good as it is easy to see the image on teh monitor at the same time as teh position of one's fingers on the keyboard. For people who are not totally fluent with touch type (I guess 99%) this is a great help and easy on the eyes
  • The right position of the monitor re. distance from the floor and backwards inclination is even lower and more backward inclined than in the previaous experiment. I had seated myself again on the low knee-stool and choose the best position for head and hands as described before. Now it becomes clear what the next steps in the further development of the mockup will be: A I have to look at the possibility if the knee stool can be integrated with the casing. In the first model this seemed impractical, now there is again a possibility
    B I can steal from my design for the DigiSit the glass tabletop above the monitor, very practical for making notes while at the same time being able to look at the monitor. With the present setup this seems well possible, even better than in the case of the DigiSit
    C In the casing there is space for a fan for extra cooling combined with a discartable paper dust filter. The right place for this fan is right behind the monitor

  • by Reinder@demotech.org - Wed Dec 06 (2000)
    Mail to : 'offgrid@recycles.org' Subject: Support to village technology in Africa and other nice countries.
    This mail is copied from Demotech's mailprogramm

    Hi Charles
    I feel connected, as a bicycle designer, as a technonomad, as a political environmentalist. This is my project that relates to your initiative: Support kids from villages in -this case- The Gambia, getting a crafts education in a technical school in the city, there is a computer class room, with hardly working computers, please could I do something ask the director. Yes computers, I say if they matter to the embetterment of these villages, Ok what about this plan? Contribute 15 thin clients, 386 or little better, no moving parts in them apart from the fan, one server with a CD-Rom device and a set of educational CD-ROMs, centering on mother and childcare, or fishery, or any subject that makes sense to the village
    These CD-ROMs simulate the Web, where a telephone entry would be too costly
    I want these client-server sets to be leased to a school that applies for it. No gift as it loads the problem of upkeep on their shoulders, lease because the (little) cost involved can be sponsored by good-doing groups in rich countries where these set could be prepared as well. Technical schools in rich countries (such as mine in The Netherlands) might be willing to do preparation and assembling. The software that is used on these computers should be Linux-like. Freeware anyway
    But there is more to the curriculum of these kids in The Gambia that should be contributed apart from computers. There is a lot of info on highly improved village technology available or to be developed. What works for this school works for thousands of other schools. The Web should make the connection. Should I tell you about a superb hydraulic ram pump made at no cost from concrete or from the 100.000 rope pumps now working, based on my design
    I need to know people who are doing the same type of project, from a similar point of entry. I would be grateful if you could be my guide

    Thanks in advance, yours,

    Reinder van Tijen, Demotech, design for self-reliance, foundation, The Netherlands

    by AnotheR BytE, Inc. - Wed Dec 06 (2000)
    Re: Mail to : 'offgrid@recycles.org' Subject: Support to village technology in Africa and other nice countries.
    Subject: Re: Support to village To: info@demotech.org (Demotech) Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 19:45:34 -0700 (MST) From: "www.recycles.org" Reply-To: director@recycles.org Url: www.recycles.org Organization:

    hi reinder, .... concerning the computers, you will do best to jump in on our exchange board. you need a password and username, so just ask me and i will give it to you. it's accessable though www.recycles.org/list/

    i forwarded your letter to Gene, one of my advisors interested in similar projects. here is his reply ..

    Hi Reinder,

    Of course my ears perk up most at talk of an hydraulic ram pump. Boy do i

    want to see what that is. Charles knows me to be an imaginary inventor

    I have been seeing the same image in my head, Reinder. But I have been suggesting this for Mexico, and for going beyond just education machines to web machines, but still without relying on a hard drive. Also I see getting the machines to work for adults, like shop-owners, to order goods

    over the web

    The important thing is the shared imagery. A classful of kids who have seen the magic of computers in magazines and movies, and imagine themselves as citizens of the world if they just had the chance. And here

    we sit with all of these computers which we can't figure out how to get rid of

    We have been thinking of using QNX, which is a realtime operating system that can boot from a single floppy disk, and then go through a proxy server to the Web

    The problem I see with CDs, emulating the Web as you say, Reinder, is that they are worse than Hard Drives on breakdowns, and they get dated

    We have a friend and collaborator who sets up laptops with CDs for women in Kenya, to go into non-electrified areas to "show" CDs on health

    care, and so forth. Imagine trying to keep laptops going in the bush. But

    they have a plan on empowering the women and cutting new CDs regularly to change attitudes in the face of the AIDS epidemic and the rapid social change in the area

    Your image makes me think, Reinder, that for a place as approachable as The Gambia, with electricity, but few phone lines, as you say, there might be some other tricks like the QNX realtime operating system

    What about one of the hot shot European or American satellite communications outfits. Would they trade some PR photos for dishes and microwave relays up and down The Gambia. In man power, cost of wire, maintenance of lines and poles, the dishes would probably represent less outlay


    >From my experience, the problems with getting computers to pass customs, shipping, delivery and all the paperwork is the big job

    Do you have experience with getting things done there, Reinder

    Where can Charles and I look at your pump

    I hope you weren't one of those being so nasty to our innocent young president on his trip, You Europeans are so severe about some things
    Here I am in the desert, in Arizona, and I hardly notice any warming at all. If I feel a bit warm, I just turn the dial on the thermostat

    Gene

    by reinder@demotech.org - Sat Dec 06 (2003)
    Re: Mail to : 'offgrid@recycles.org' Subject: Support to village technology in Africa and other nice countries.

    > .... The important thing is the shared imagery. A classful of kids who have
    > seen the magic of computers in magazines and movies, and imagine
    > themselves as citizens of the world if they just had the chance ...
    For Demotech it is hard enough to get one product going, so I like to concentrate on a take it or leave it setup with -for the clients- one size monitor, a computer with a fixed specification, almost zero moving parts and one type protective casing.
    So it should boost from an Eprom and work internally with a 16 Mb RAM-chip. Coax should do for the connection with the sever. This setup is thought reasistic by Demotech's computer advisor Bart.
    > We have been thinking of using QNX, which is a realtime operating system that can boot from a single floppy disk, and then go through a proxy server to the Web.
    I'll ask Bart, Marc and Wim (Demotech's computer advisers) what they think of it. About computers I myself have a little feel, but no practical knowledge, I have to reley on my advisors. The casing however, that is my job.

    > The problem I see with CDs, emulating the Web as you say, Reinder, is that they are worse than Hard Drives on breakdowns, and they get dated.
    Educational CD's should be updated regulary with feedback from the users. Its the task from the people who composed them to start with.

    > We have a friend and collaborator who sets up laptops with CDs for women in Kenya, to go into non-electrified areas to "show" CDs on health care, and so forth.
    Imagine trying to keep laptops going in the bush.
    >But they have a plan on empowering the women and cutting new CDs regularly to change attitudes in the face of the AIDS epidemic and the rapid social change in the area.
    This is one of these weird projects to close the 'Digital Divide'. More practical, more effective and by far cheaper is to hand out David Werner's book: "Where there is no Doctor". However my own plan is only slightly less impracticle. It started because the people in The Gambia were so keen to get computers and Web access. I would not encourage the direct use by end users of computer gear. Best hope is to facilitate the local NGO's with it. And then make sure that they keep it running and do not drown in an overdose of info.

    > Your image makes me think, Reinder, that for a place as approachable as The Gambia, with electricity, but few phone lines, as you say, there might be some other tricks like the QNX realtime operating system.
    Please explain 'QNX realtime operating system'
    > What about one of the hot shot European or American satellite communications outfits?Would they trade some PR photos for dishes and microwave relays up and down The Gambia. In man power, cost of wire, maintenance of lines and poles, the dishes would probably represent less outlay.
    This is too big for me.
    From my experience, the problems with getting computers to pass customs, shipping, delivery and all the paperwork is the big job.

    > Do you have experience with getting things done there, Reinder?
    Yes some. Essential is that the local organization has a true interst in the deal. Than they find a way. If the expat has to do the job, she or he gets lost.
    > Where can Charles and I look at your pump?
    Come over here in my workshop in Dieren, see my mail to you personally!
    > I hope you weren't one of those being so nasty to our innocent young president on his trip, You Europeans are so severe about some things.

    > Here I am in the desert, in Arizona, and I hardly notice any warming at all. If I feel a bit warm, I just turn the dial on the thermostat.

    > Gene
    Yes Gene, that is as true as Bush has won his election!

    by Anumakonda Jagadeesh / Demotech - Sat Dec 06 (2003)
    Antw.: Some Innovative Projects - Dr A.Jagadeesh
    Van: Demotech, onderwerp: Your design ideas
    Date: November 19, 2003 12:41:01 AM CET
    To

    Dear Mr. Jagadeesh,
    I congratulate you with your 'design of the month', or a similar name. I think I saw your solar heater being mentioned as such by 'Engineers without Borders'.
    I also like the idea of the periscope for computer screens. Although I see a different application for it, which I'll describe below.
    My problem was the position of the monitor. I like to work at a computer with the screen as in a position that the display of a notebook offers: just above your hands!While looking at the screen you see and you can steer your fingers. No need to move your head up and down all the time, as is necessary when the monitor is placed at eye level.
    This position is recommended by experts, but I view this as crazy: nobody writes a letter by hand, reads a book, or does any handwork looking straight forward. Everybody does it in a normal way: with one's head slightly bended down!
    Your periscope idea could achieve the same goal. While the monitor is on the ground, the mirrors make the screen visible in this proper position.
    The application I like to work out is one to make school computer furniture: A sturdy box, housing the computer, the monitor, the keyboard and the rest. It rest on wheels, to be easily stored in a safe place after lessons.
    For use in lessons a simple knee-seat it folded out of the sturdy box, the mirrors and the keyboard are also folded out in an appropriate position.
    Part of the box forms a table top, where the student can do his writings on.
    When visiting a computer classroom in The Gambia, I saw how easily the computers became damaged by being moved around. It would be helpful if your periscope mirrors could help to better this problem.

    Thank you for your idea,
    With kind regards, Reinder van Tijen
    -----------------------------

    Op Nov 18, 2003 om 6:16 AM heeft Anumakonda Jagadeesh het volgende geschreven:
    I am attaching a note on "MULTIPLE USES OF PERISCOPE". I welcome your enlightened views.
    With my best regards, Yours sincerely, A.JAGADEESH

    If you like you can add your own comment



    What name would YOU give to this device?
    You can assist search machines to find this topic by sending Demotech an email form with one or more appropriate names for this device in your language. Such as: digitale kloof, computers en ontwikkeling, elearning, ....