This past weekend, my dad celebrated his birthday. As many of us tend to do on our “special day”, he became particularly contemplative and philosophical, questioning things in his life and the world at large. Wait, what? Normal people don’t do that? Oh yea, that’s just my dad for you. Blame it on the Zen Buddhist upbringing.
In any case, he posed a question to me that caught me off-guard: Have technology and technological advancements really improved our lives, or have they created more problems and stress than we’ve ever had before? All I could think of was my technologically-advanced cellphone and laptop, connecting me to everyone and everything 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Breathe, Kayo, breathe.
But now I have a real answer for my dad.
A collection of innovative companies and charitable organizations are using technology to find ways to make clean water accessible to the 1.1 billion people across the developing world for whom the quest to find potable water is a daily struggle.
My personal favourite is Red Button Design‘s Midomo machine, as it not only addresses the problem of water purification, but also offers solutions for transport and funding. The designers took into consideration the distance an average person in Africa must travel to collect water (3.7 miles), and used this distance to their design advantage. As a person pushes the Midomo from the water source back to their home, the rotation of the wheels powers the internal filtration system, purifying the water to World Health Organization standards.
Red Button Design has also addressed the issue of funding, as technologies like the Midomo machine may not be affordable for those who need it most. They have created the Midomo bracelet, which sells for about $425. Purchase of the bracelet sends a Midomo to an African community, and through a serial number engraved on the bracelet, the bracelet owner can track the journey of the machine.
To check out more innovative solutions, visit mashable.com. These solutions would not be possible if not for technological advancements. I can now go back to my dad and say with confidence that technology is indeed our friend.