To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Mechanical engineer Amy Smith's approach to problem-solving in developing nations is refreshingly common-sense: Invent cheap, low-tech devices that use local resources, so communities can reproduce her efforts and ultimately help themselves. Smith, working with her students at MIT's D-Lab, has come up with several useful tools, including an incubator that stays warm without electricity, a simple grain mill, and a tool that converts farm waste into cleaner-burning charcoal.
The inventions have earned Smith three prestigious prizes: the B.F. Goodrich Collegiate Inventors Award, the MIT-Lemelson Prize, and a MacArthur "genius" grant. Her course, "Design for Developing Countries," is a pioneer in bringing humanitarian design into the curriculum of major institutions. Going forward, the former Peace Corps volunteer strives to do much more, bringing her inventiveness and boundless energy to bear on some of the world's most persistent problems.
What others say
“Smith has a stable of oldfangled technologies that she has reconfigured and applied to underdeveloped areas around the world. Her solutions sound like answers to problems that should have been solved a century ago. To Smith, that's the point.” — Wired News
Amy Smith’s TED talks
While TED was on vacation last week, Amy Smith‘s second annual International Development Design Summit 2008 was raging at MIT. For four weeks at IDDS, some 50 students from more than 20 countries designed and built new tools that could improve quality of life in some of the world’s poorest communities. Among the projects: * […]Continue reading
Some familiar TED faces and themes turn up in Popular Mechanics‘ 2007 Breakthrough Awards, published in the magazine’s November issue. Jeff Han‘s multitouch wall (watch his 2006 TEDTalk) and Hod Lipson‘s print-anything printer (related to his work on robots) are named as two of the awards’ “8 Bold Ideas” for 2007. If you were moved […]Continue reading