Saturday, October 25, 2008

More On Cell Phone Banking

Technology Review has a fairly comprehensive article on banking through cell phones, particular in India. Fascinating read. Many Indian farmers and urban dwellers have predictable patterns (go to auction at 4:00 AM, go back to farm at 6:00 AM, get mugged at 6:10 AM on the road - optional) that leave them somewhat vulnerable to thuggery. By using cell phones which are attached to an identity to store the money electronically (pin and sometimes thumbprint protected) some of that susceptibility is lessened.

Additionally, when multiplied by millions, even with only a few dollars a piece, that puts a lot of capital in the banking system. And, if my Freshman economics serves me, that is something that manages to increase the speed of money in the economy and open up opportunities across the entire population. The article mentions lots of exciting specifics, so you should check it out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Meet Amy B. Smith

Amy B Smith just won the Popular Mechanics Leadership Award for her leadership efforts and work in the area of engineering for the very poor. Smith has led student trips to places as far away as Ghana and India and has impressed many people in the area of engineering for the poor such as Paul Polak, author of Out of Poverty: What Works when Traditional Approaches Fail.

Video Here

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Aquaduct(bike)

Here's something rather interesting, and the winner of this year's Innovate or Die contest. It's a pedal-powered bike purpose built for transporting and cleaning water. It's a really great idea by some people who appear to have a reasonable concept of what the issues are.

On the other hand, I really hope that we can start seeing some more innovation on the urban front where, unfortunately, most of the world's truly poor live.