Thursday, January 22, 2009

Emily Cummins – Solar powered fridge

Proving once again that the best ideas are often the simplest, 21-year-old student/inventor/entrepreneur Emily Cummins has designed a brilliant portable solar-powered refrigerator that works based upon the principle of evaporation. Employing a combination of conduction and convection, the refrigerator requires no electricity and can be made from commonly available materials like cardboard, sand, and recycled metal.

Emily Jayne Cummins (born 11 February 1987) is a student at Leeds University studying Management and Sustainability. Her inclination towards design and innovation started way back when she was four years old, when her granddad gave her a hammer. From then on, whenever she used to visit she spends hours with him. She was inspired as she saw her granddad taking scraps of materials and turning them in to toys for her and her cousins.
Her innovations include:

1. Toothpaste Dispenser.
2. Water Carrier.
3. Sustainable Refrigerator.

I must say, of all of them I was really impressed with the idea of refrigerator and the way it works. Simply amazing!!!

Simply place perishable foods or temperature-sensitive medications in the solar refrigerator’s interior metal chamber and seal it. In-between the inner and outer chamber, organic material like sand, wool or soil is then saturated with water. As the sun warms the organic material, water evaporates, reducing the temperature of the inner chamber to a cool, 6 degree Celsius for days at a time!

After winning £5,000 from York Merchant Adventurers for her idea, Emily delayed going to college for a year to take her refrigerator to Africa for further development. She made six versions during the initial phase of production and helped make more than 50 during the trip where locals in Namibia nicknamed her “The Fridge Lady“. The refrigerator has since rolled out in Zambia, Namibia and South Africa and Emily believes thousands more may be in use as the design passes from community to community through word-of-mouth.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Sacrifice??? Selfless Love???

On way back from an adjacent town, we stopped at a highway dhaba. Placing our order, we stretched ourselves out on the cane chairs. A motley group of people occupied other tables. As we glanced around desultorily, a ragged man sauntered in & sat down. He poured himself a glass of water from the steel jug. He drank two glasses, but ordered no food, nor did the dhaba boys ask him.
When our tea and samosas arrived, he looked at the food, filled his glass again and drank it. We saw no greed in his eyes, but it was an easy guess, that the guy was hungry & had no money. The dhaba boy told us, “Oh! That madman comes in everyday. If he has money, he eats something; otherwise he just drinks a few glasses of water & leaves. My boss said that since water has been given to us by God, we must never stop anyone drinking it at our dhaba.”
This logic really touched me. I asked the boy to serve the man a plate of samosas. When he did so, the man looked at him. The boy pointed to us. The man looked at us but made no acknowledgement. As he picked up the first samosa, a little girl in rags walked up & just stood there. He gave her the samosa, which she wolfed down. He picked up the second one & handed that to her, too. She grabbed it & ran away.
He pushed away his empty plate, filled up his glass again, drank the water and walked away from the dhaba without a backward glance.
I asked myself if I were capable of a gesture like that. The most I could muster was, ‘I HOPE SO’.
If sharing what we have in excess is generosity, then how would we describe what that madman did? - SACRIFICE??? SELFLESS LOVE???
I suppose this is what so called normal men talk about & madmen practice!!!
[P.S: I read this blog at my office blogoshpere, it was mentioned that the author got this as a forward mail …..but it was too good to not share with a larger audience, so I just added my few cents]

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

‘Ubiquity’ is a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language that could make it possible for each one of us to do common tasks, like googling, more quickly and easily. Ubiquity's main goal is to take a disjointed web and bring everything the user needs to them.

Off late I came across another website Flowgram is a beautiful solution for a very meager problem which almost all of us face everyday.  I suggest you to see the video which they have put up in the homepage.

The advantage of using Flowgram is the fact that we can bundle different types of content, be it word doc, ppt, webpages, anything for that matter. I think this is extremely useful as it is hardly supported by the tools currently available. For instance, when we're researching a topic we usually work with a combination of emails, Word and Powerpoint docs, webpages, etc. With Flowgram, this can be done in one place. But however, for this tool to be more useful, a user would also have to have the ablility to unpackage Flowgram to get the different files back in their original format. That’s one thing which they need to work on I guess.

Somehow, when I read about ubiquity I was able to relate it to Flowgram. I felt that that basic problem addressed in both the projects are the same i.e. "disconnected web". But definitely Mozilla have addressed far more issues with ubiquity and they are trying to take user experience to the next level. I feel that's the secret behind the success of great companies, it's not just about the solution, it's about the value add they give to the solution. Anyone can come up with a solution for a problem like "disconnected web". But the way Mozilla related the "disconnected web" to their browser, and the way they related it to the end user is just amazing.

Ubiquity is an amazing concept, but I wonder how far people are going to use it.

Click here to install  the prototype of ubiquity.
P.S: Ubiquity is still in the very early stages, and a lot of security issues are yet to be addressed.