Tue May 31st, 2011 at 12:36:11 AM EST
Straw Centrifuge Pump
A lot of modern junk - plastic bottles, cups, refills, rubber slippers, pens etc can be reused in many creative ways to make joyous learning aids. Children could make more than a dozen delightful pumps using all kinds of odd stuff. For instance, push two film cans on the ends of a 15 cm piece of old bicycle tube to make an air pump. The opening/closing valves are made using bits of sticky tape. This high quality pump can easily inflate a balloon! Or else make a scintillating sprinkler within a minute. Poke a broom stick in the middle of a plastic straw. Make two half cuts 2 cm away from the centre. Bend the arms and secure them in place with some tape to make a triangle. Twirl this triangle in water to make a most delightful centrifuge or sprinkler.
Arvind Gupta has been building science teaching toys from trash materials since 1978 and for the Children's Science Centre at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune University, Pune 411007 Maharashtra India since October 2003.
On his website
you can find hundreds of toys children can make for themselves with easily available materials
He even has video demonstrations of many designs
"The best thing a child can do with a toy is break it !"
"And somewhere there are engineers
Helping others fly faster than sound.
But, where are the engineers
Helping those who must live on the ground?"
It is not a great leap from these toys to trash technology that can actually help those who must live on the ground:
Solar water disinfection with clear plastic bottles
solar cookers from cardboard, aluminum foil, and a clear plastic bag
can also be made from trash and are used around the world in homes and refugee camps.
More efficient cook stoves
and small solar electric systems
are also becoming available at prices not much more expensive when compared to the firewood, charcoal, kerosene, and candles which are what the poorest of the poor usually use.
Bicycle cell phone chargers and human-power take-offs
are also increasingly used.
The Internet, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter were used to foment a social and political revolution that has overthrown dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, possibly Libya, maybe even Syria or Yemen. It may be that the same technologies can speed an economic revolution and build renewably powered, locally resilient economies as well.
I wonder if Arvind Gupta's materials are available in Arabic. Or Spanish.
Fastfood Containers as Solar Devices
Solar Is Civil Defense
Small-scale LED Lighting, Off-Grid Cell Phones
Notes on the Arab Spring