DESIGN-BACK

When visiting the communities we work with, we look for opportunities to ‘design-back’ and address some of their real needs through the appropriate use of technology.  We invest a percentage of our profits into the development of these ideas. 

What we've done so far:

SOLAR PHONE & LIGHT CHARGER

The Challenge

Most African countries have a rapidly developing mobile phone network which brings many benefits; from family members being able to communicate to easier payment for goods. The electricity grid, however, has not expanded as fast and charging mobile phones has become a daily struggle for many with time and money unnecessarily spent on travelling to towns to pay for a phone charge.

Solar chargers do exist, but they typically take all day to charge phones and only provide enough battery power for emergency phone calls, so are not appropriate for continuous, daily use.

Our Solution

We partnered with a local manufacturing company and developed a portable solar phone charger with the same power output you would expect from a mains charger. Phones are fully charged in three hours and additional 'charge' can then be on-sold to others to offset the capital cost of the device.

We also developed an optional battery pack that can be charged with the same panel to provide up to 8 hours of quality light.

The products were designed to be manufactured using existing components and casing, so no capital investment for tooling was required and time to market was quick. They continue to be supplied through the company we work with and we are currently working on a second, lower cost version.

WATER PASTEURISER

The Challenge

It is common knowledge that water quality is an issue in Africa. However, in some parts, water quality is quite reasonable, some treatment is required, but investment into boreholes, pumps or ongoing chemical treatment cannot be justified.

Our Solution

Our water pasteuriser is a low level water treatment device that can transport and treat water by solar heat. Its unique design enables it to fold into a bucket sized container for carrying and then expand into a flat disk which maximises the surface area exposed to the sun and heats the water to the required temperature in approximately four hours. It treats most common harmful bacteria.