Appropriate technology designs

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The following is a list of appropriate technology concepts - these are highly speculative and not actually "appropriate technology" in any commonly agreed sense.

The list only includes Completely emissionless technologies, and the technologies are especially designed to be used in villages/cities in the developed world. [1] The designs were proposed to be placed in a global AT database.

Water supply[edit | edit source]

I suggest adding a variant of the picture Water system with cistern

Water System With Cistern.svg

, where the pressure vessel is removed and the cistern itself works as a pressure vessel. This would allow the system to be build DIY (rather than needing to buy a pressure vessel or weld your own pressure vessel casing. Please include in article.

Perhaps diy water towers can also be included, as they allow multiple users to take advantage of a single system (reduces cost). However, the downside would be that if the tower fails, part of or the entire village would be affected. If this happens (especially in remote arid/desert-like locations, repairs will go slow aswell (water being important to work in order to make repairs) and replacement parts may not always be available. Also, another thing is dislike in water towers is that they are outdated and somewhat inefficient (a pump is required too to pump the water up, its only after the elevation that it can works without electricity or extra pumps). (talk) 12:21, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Also, the waterpumping windmill described in NGC is a useful piece of material. A picture is available at

Water tower conversions[edit | edit source]

Water towers in the developing world may be used as a energy storage device. This can be done by adding a hydropower generator on the tube. This allows the height difference to be used as a energy source. Conversions of regular towers are theoretically also possible

Ecologic toothbrush[edit | edit source]

In order to eliminate the need of toothpaste (which is costly in the long run, and environmentally polluting; if the commercial toothpastes are used, and even if tooth powder is made at the home using baking soda and glycerin), a solution would be to design a toothbrush that keeps the middle between a "regular" commercial w:toothbrush and a w:Teeth cleaning twig. This would be done by making the handle out of a durable wood (or alternatively metal) and adding a replacable brush made from a biocidal wood species (eg Salvadora persica, Gouania lupuloides). The brush could perhaps be made with cooperation from Radius toothbrush, Recycline, Cebra Online, Gaiam, Smile Brite or Bogobrush

Telepresence robot with Multimachine[edit | edit source]

Perhaps a telepresence robot (eg Sparky) fitted with the multimachine (see Open-source robotics) could be useful for closing the technical inexpertise in workshops of developing countries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

International language and electricity system[edit | edit source]

A simplified english as the only spoken language is an appropriate technology and can be implemented in appropriate technology documents and books. Also, standards and rules to only use one type of mains electricity system (amount of volt & frequency) is best used to allow the building of internationally invariable electric devices and machines. see and

Thanks, (talk) 13:29, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Simplified English is useful for communications. But "simplified english as the only spoken language" is dystopian - I don't want to live in a world without linguistic diversity, and without complex language. --Chriswaterguy (talk) 00:50, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Chainless bike with airless tires[edit | edit source]

Perhaps bikes without chains (eg shaft-driven or hydraulic bicycles) and Airless tires are more appropriate bicycles. Would reduce malfuntionings and more difficult bike repair trainings required today. Perhaps tubeless wheels can be used as a basis in which latex can be poured. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:55, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Electronics[edit | edit source]

Concept of the modular circuit board

I was wondering whether anyone knows whether there are ecological and simpler alternatives to PCB boards. I was thinking about Wire_wrap, Stripboard and the like yet am not sure whether environmental and whether any difficult circuits can be made with this. Wafer-level packaging (this is I believe only used with certain components) can also sometimes? be used. Also not sure whether very environmental (presence of glues, and hazardous materials as certain plastics, ...). I also heard about the Tin-Lead ban, see leadfree soldering which has introduced the creation of alternatives (eg SnAgCu, SnCu and Sn alone). I also heard about anisothropically conductive glues (these are not environmental) and isothropically conductive glues (respectively ACA and ICA), glues for flip-chip assembly and the glue on ReUSE, ... yet not sure whether truly ecologic and whether its any durable. Perhaps Sn alone is most appropriate? This will need to be checked and further compared dough. See,, A appropriate solder and soldering method should be the following:

  • easy assembly and disassembly of board, components and solder (so best no alloys as this reduces options with melting the parts off)
  • no etching (this would promote loss of soldering material); instead direct application of paste eg by hand soldering as in reflow soldering or automated (with workshop pick&place robots)

An alternative is the use of organic materials (which are thus consistent to cradle-to-cradle design). Certain (not all!) smart plastics can be used. Examples are PEDOT:PSS. However, this approach is not yet suited today to make any durable or more advanced circuits. Also, could any other techniques as flow soldering, E-blocks, FPGA, EasyControl I/O, ... be used. E-blocks also uses flowcode as a coding language. Not sure whether this is easy to learn (aldough most coding can be simply downloaded if open-source). In addition, a suggestion on the LED-lamps. These are I believe quite expensive. In order to decrease price, I was wondering whether LED's may be made DIY (they are composed of a die, lens, cooling body and connection wires. Compounds used include aluminum, indium, gallium, phosphor, nitrogen. Especially low-power leds seem easy to build, high power ones may?? be achievable using techniques as Lumiramica (uses phosphor plates instead of powder). An alternative is the procuring of mere high-power LEDs (eg Lumileds Rebel Led, Osram Opto Semiconductors Golden Dragon, Cree X-lamp, ...)and installing them yourself with the open source LEDbus system. This may be cheaper than buying LED lamps with imbedded electronics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:59, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Synthetic biology[edit | edit source]

Synthetic biology could make cheap generators for hydrogen gas and could provide a cheap and easy way to make electronic boards. See Angela Belchers project (talk) 14:27, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Open-design circuit board oven and solder robot[edit | edit source]

The Elector SMT reflow oven may be used as is (or after modification) with the Sn solder (or other soldering method) noted above to solder boards ecologically and appropriate.

Note that this open-source project demonstrated how easy it is to implement controlling the temperature of ovens. Perhaps that a similar temperature control may be integrated in the recasting of materials. In the document made by Ingénieurs Sans Frontières it was described that casting was done "on sight". To make solder for these sensitive equipments, perhaps controlled temperature casting is better as it may allow a better purity of metal (improving the performance of these sensitive devices)

for the soldering itself, I was thinking about a open-source soldering robot (which can be probably made with a diy embedded (low-cost) microcontroller (to make a embedded computer with output devices (movable soldering syringes. This primarily as I have doubts about the local workers performing this very precise and difficult job. The local workers are probably more suited to gathering the source materials (metals, ...)

Component tester[edit | edit source]

As described above, with component boards as strip boards, easy replacing/repairs of devices are possible (allowing the repair of broken boards by replacing certain components, rather than trowing away the entire board alltogether). For this, a simple? voltage meter is needed to test the components individually (eg whether they still let the power trough). This open-source elektor meter may be used herefore

Disassembler device[edit | edit source]

Besides an oven and solder robot, an easy open-source board disassembly device would be appropriate. This would allow boards found on the junkyard (which are thus completely broken; having no more working components) of being effciently disassembled. The solder, board and components can then be easily seperated and reused (solder and metals can be recast, chemical components may be derived from large amounts of diodes, and other known components). The chemical substances and amounts are known to be in each type of component (eg diodes, leds, ...) and may therefore still be recovered if they are all seperatly detached and sorted together.

Open-design washing machine[edit | edit source]

Design of a appropriate technology washing machine

A open-source washing machine should be created. The washing machine is to have a induction engine for the drum and a brushless DC engine for pumping the machine dry after the wash. It probably best uses (the technology of; buying the modules from the company directly may be expensive) the Motion SPM in SMD or Tuny DIP housing. see Energy Saving through Motor Control and Motor app gains efficiency with electronic control Perhaps water-saving features may be added (see Washing_machine#Washing_machine_milestones 2008 Berkeley washer) Cleaning agents used should be eco-friendly; see Natural cleaning product

Use of alternative currency[edit | edit source]

After some research (see updates at Alternative currency), the use of a specific alternative currency (not devaluating in time; eg no "schwundgeld") could be useful. This currency would be a currency specific for trading between villages (thus not between individuals). It would be a city gift currency; and the working would be as follows: each city is given at the start a same negative amount of credits. If a certain city requests the ordering of eg a set of windturbines, casted metals, tools, ... the product is made and delivered abd at the same time, the giving partner is given a same amount of negative points which they can use to ask another product in return (of a same value of negative points). The negative value of a product depends on the amount of workhours and the type/amount of source material used. The current amount of negative (good) or positive (bad) credits can be shown in the cities townhall (preferably on a electronic billboard together with other information; supplied via RSS) The system would encourage city trade of autonomous energy products, and other products required for ecologic, autonomous functioning of the city. As such, it would increases economy, employment and promote healthy rivalry/competitions (building new systems and trading them, ...). it would increase specialisation of each system, dividing the production of different autonomous systems (eg water harvesting, energy generation systems, ...)? This would decrease the costs as less workshops would be needed for the cities of a certain area (one area should have several cities; each specialising in the essential systems and located at a manageable/transportable distance) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Improved solar heater[edit | edit source]

I just added another design for a low-cost village. See here. This design has some new features including the seperation of rooms and making them communal (reduces cost, decreases cleaning, ...) This design makes use of a solar batch heater for heating the water for the showers. This batch heater would be a heater like

this one

, but automatic temperature control (set to eg 40°C) should be added. As such a open-source design for this temperature controller should be made. The automatic control can be created in practice by 2 tanks --> 1 with cold(er) water (eg 20° or so; ambient temperature) and 1 with warm water (this tank can be the batch heater itself). The tank with colder water needs to be shielded from the sun (eg by underground placement, ...). The 2 tanks can be connected to 1 large(r) tank that will be the primary buffer for the shower (here the water needs to be 40°). The valves of the (hot&cold) tanks will be automatically controlled by the temperature controller. The batch heater itself may be fitted with a electric coil for heating when the water cannot be heated enough by the sun; in not so sunny areas the batch heater can be improved by targeting light at it with parabolic dishes.

The 40° water generated by the solar/electrical heating system can also be used for the laundry center/washing machines noted in the design. The piping may be merely extended (1 branch offcourse already going to showers; another continuing to washing machines/laundry center) and the 40° water inmediatelly enters the (open-source design; see above) laundry center. Here the water may be used as is, or be heated again in the washing machines (depends on washing program; imbedded machine thermostat will determine this) Note that instead of the batch heater, the Concentrating Solar Power plant itself (noted in the design) can also function as a batch heater. However, the CSP would then require 2 piping circuits (one for heating the shower water and 1 for the energy generation; the latter runs on chemical fluids and not water). Nonetheless the 2 circuits can be integrated into the same tower and make use of the same solar power. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:54, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Improved UDD toilet[edit | edit source]

A communal design which may be improved using these ideas

Based on the GTZ UDD toilet (see )

Extra's to add: - painting the chamber black, and adding increased ventilation trough natural ventilation techniques (trought the increased warming up of the chamber). Perhaps this may be done trough the pipe (if made of metal, the metal instead can be painted black and guide the heat down to the chamber). Also, the urine collection might be inmediattly outfitted with a small hose and (non-electrical) handpump to inmediately pump the urine to the food-production plot (so that these nutrients can be inmediattely transferred and do not need to wait out the emptying; pumping may be done after each toilet visit). Finally, perhaps the heat from the faeces composting and from the solar energy may be used to further heat up the hot water system (which will already be powered by tube collectors, but which still need additional heating for certain applications (offcourse an electric boiler will need to be installed too to attain the appropriate temperature). The latter can be done by heat exchanger (to avoid contact with the faeces).

Fraction 1 protein[edit | edit source]

Does anyone know fraction 1 protein; which can be made by making a paste from tabacco leaves ? It was invented by Shuh Sheen of the Kentucky University see here I was wondering about whether this crop may be used as an easy food source (contains high amounts of protein). This would physically strengthen population and tobacco is easy to grow in tropical/subtropical areas. Not sure whether tasty, ... dough. Also not completely sure about potential toxic substances (eg nicotine). Let me know. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:04, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

The agriculture simulator proposal sent before, could be made using the 3d models from Jochem Evers/ See, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Irrigation[edit | edit source]

Low cost water transport system.JPG

The Nabataeans had ceramic pipeline irrigation in the old days, which I believe could be an appropriate irrigation system. The Jacob Blaustein Institute conducts research to these nabataeans irrigation techniques. This in order to make low-cost irrigation systems to cope with the flooding periods (strange but true). It will help in preserving the rain that falls in these periods to water the crops for a great amount of time. Eg ceramic pipelines/terracotta canals can be a low cost solution see —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps this terracotta irrigation should be mentioned in article ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Finally, there is also a new system described by agrivision (see irrigation:talk), yet this probably also has the same problems as drip irrigation (eg plastic corrugates, not easily reachable/hard to repair, ...) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Improved MayaPedal[edit | edit source]

I recenently take a look at the mayapedal (appropedia:MayaPedal). Seems to me that a open-sourced version of the Pedal-A-Watt (see would be more approriate as the bike can still be used for transport. Also, should Nanosolar best be added to article, according to time magazine (50 greatest inventions) their solar panels are way cheaper made and sold. However, there are a great number of other panels (see peswiki) that may be cheap and/or have greater energy output (making price perhaps competetive if they are compared per watt produced). However, not all produced energy is always stored on the other hand in developing countries, making a cheaper panel perhaps cheaper in all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Soil survey using satellite-images[edit | edit source]

I recently looked at a project of Agro Vision, and it seems that satellite images can be used to determine moisture, nitrogen, co²-intake, ... They are working on localized fertilisation (eg by gps-controlled fertilisermachine) were the input data (nutrient content of soil) comes from satellite data. There is also a test project which allows farmers to survey their soil using this remote sensing. The website is at

If this approach allows enough minerals (nitrogen, potassium, ...) to be recorded it may be very useful. See , and the AgriVision-project at

This approach could be used to replace the more expensive sampling of the soil (by hand) in remote areas. In one of my designs sent earlier, I also mentioned a "farming-manual (telling people in developing world how they may farm more productively and without non-biodegradable pesticides). This approach should be mentioned herein.

Besides checking whether enough parameters can be recorded, it should be checked whether UAV's can also perform this "remote sensing". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:16, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Appropedia[edit | edit source]

Appropedia (note the Appropriate technology portal) is an appropriate technology wiki, with a status tagging system which can be used to tag pages as concepts, designs, prototypes or implemented technologies.

References[edit | edit source]