The following is a list of shortlisted technological innovations created by potential partners we hope to collaborate with.
Multi-functional Lego-inspired bricks: to transport food and drinking water to disaster victims and once used, slot together to form temporary shelter and other structures. (developed by UNICEF and Psychic Factory)
Access to power, light and warmth in times of crises is essential. Ecosphere Technologies have released what they say to be the world's largest deployable solar power generator. The PowerCube can be transported as a standard shipping container and morphs into a multi-functional solar-powered shelter, water treatment plant and communications base at the push of a button.
M-KOPA Solar in Kenya, are the market leader of ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy for off-grid customers, supplying solar products that are affordable to low-income households on a pay-per-use instalment plan.
Philips’ Community Light Centers in Africa are lit using the latest solar power LED lighting technology. Their aim is to enable social and economic development for communities which lack electricity, enhancing safety, education, development and healthcare.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) distribute ‘dignity kits’ to those in countries experiencing humanitarian crises, containing culturally appropriate items that vary across countries and regions. The kits contain headscarves in Muslim countries or hair oil in West Africa, as well as sanitary towels, hand soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and underwear. Although these items do not necessarily save lives, they provide comfort and dignity to those who need it most.
MPOWERD’s Luci Light is ultra-bright, lightweight, waterproof, shatterproof, and reliable in blackouts or extreme conditions.
AidPol’s emergency food rations and energy bars reduce hunger and tackle malnutrition for people displaced due to disaster, war or conflict. The pack content is adjustable based on the beneficiary, taking into account dietary preferences, age groups, cultural and religious requirements, climate and weather conditions, health status and demographic profile of the affected population. Each food pack also contains disinfectant tablets and a kit for cooking.
Tana Netting, high quality, durable and insecticide treated mosquito nets, providing protection for individuals and communities against malaria and other vector-borne diseases. (created by NRS International)
Charles-Nielsen's Life-Bed is an inflatable mattress that combines a hygienic, comfortable sleeping surface with a barrier against hypothermia. Using innovative and patented technologies Life-Bed is a lightweight, waterproof, robust alternative to traditional sleeping mats and at only 280 grams anyone can carry it. Life-Bed's multi-cell design is easily orally inflated in minutes and can be used on both wet and dry surfaces. Life-Bed is simple for humanitarian and aid agencies to distribute and are made from high-grade materials making them durable. A long shelf life makes them the perfect solution for emergency preparedness and crisis intervention operations -an ideal first response solution when disaster strikes
Smart Communications(Smart) pioneered telecommunications disaster response by setting up web-based solutions before and in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Smart provided free call stations using satellite phones and emergency satellite communications services, allowing various agencies to coordinate disaster response efforts and facilitate faster relief. (using smartphone apps and ICT)
New biometric systems can capture personal information using human characteristics such as fingerprints, DNA, retina patterns and voice patterns. managing refugee camps. In South Sudan, one such state-of-the-art biometric tool is being used to help register and assist refugees more efficiently. The system captures information on families and is matched with fingerprint scanning, allowing aid workers to gather detailed information about thousands of refugees quickly and deliver assistance more accurately and efficiently.
The IFRC has called for similar innovative biometric designs for solar-powered kiosks that dispense cash like ATMs, and in emergencies can be used to retrieve important personal documents that are so often lost during disasters.
SatCase is a revolutionary device that transforms the common smartphone into a sophisticated satellite phone. By inserting a smartphone into SatCase, the result is a smart mix of rescue and personal security features and users can stay in touch with others, no matter where they are in the world.
Hydroponics can be used to significantly increase crop yield in urban areas and regions where soil type is unsuitable for farming. Hydroponics is the method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. This is advantageous in drought prone regions as the water used can be recycled. Combined with conventional aquaculture(fish farming), these methods provide a sustainable, long-term agricultural solution while eliminating the need for soil, fossil fuels, pesticides and toxic chemicals.
Wakati: uses a solar powered ventilator to gradually evaporate water over produce in asterilised microclimate. This solution means produce stays fresh by up to 10 days longer in a hot climate, reducing waste and increasing farmers’ profit. (solar-powered, sterilized microclimate for fruit and vegetables)
Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires causes millions of premature deaths annually and contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and acute health impacts such as pneumonia, lung cancer, heart disease, low birth-weight and burns. The adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels can save lives and reduce illness. See Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
3D printers have also been used in Haiti to print medical supplies, and present opportunities to provide necessities when resources are limited. 3D printing still requires advanced technological skills to operate correctly but, in the future, has the potential to allow medical staff and aid workers to produce supplies without the logistical stress.
True Energy have produced a Sure Chill solar-powered vaccine refrigerator that keeps medicine cool and safe without a connection to the grid. In addition to being solar-powered, it is so efficient that it is able to stay cool for ten days without a charge and contains a stabilising technology that adjusts appropriately to outside temperatures.
SkyLIFE Technology save lives by providing rapid aerial deployment of humanitarian aid by dropping aerodynamically engineered SkyLIFE packs and boxes to those in need. The packs contain essential aid supplies including food, water, hygiene, power, blankets, shelter and communication devices.
Navistar have introduced innovative trucks for use in disaster relief, combining fire-fighting, mobile medical units and water purifying facilities in one Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV). These vehicles are the first of their kind and have the potential to improve the quality of life in many places around the world.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, offer humanitarian agencies a range of possibilities in relation to crisis mapping, search and rescue and supplies transport and delivery. ‘Disaster drones’ can be used to temporarily restore communications networks and for delivering medicines, mapping and surveying, finding and destroying landmines and bombs and assessing vulnerabilities and damage. Drone technology is also becoming cheaper and better developed, and recently UNOCHA issued guidelines on the use of UAVs in humanitarian efforts, and are becoming an integral part of disaster response.
The NRS Relief have created the first-ever fully Fire Retardant (FR) tents and tarpaulins in the humanitarian community. NRS Relief’s Fire Retardancy innovation improves safety in refugee camps and prevents loss of properties, injuries and deaths.
Presently in the final stage of development and testing, the Humanihut Shelter System provides fresh and grey water, electricity and sewerage treatment. With a 20 year life span, it can be collapsed when no longer required, deployed to another emergency or stored for later use. This system offers displaced people a significantly improved standard of living and aid agencies significant cost reductions.
Soko Mushrooms are a sustainable agriculture enterprise based in Zimbabwe that supply farmers with new skills through their mushroom growing workshops. Mushrooms are rich in protein, fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. Empowering young farmers - often girls - with these techniques means they simultaneously fight poverty and malnutrition. (eLearning that provides flexible resources)
There are also new initiatives in educating water conservation and sanitation to local children. The idea is that training workshops, such as the Project WET Foundation and UNICEF’s WASH Strategies enable children to understand and value water, ensuring a sustainable future while promoting hygiene.
Puralytics have pioneered an entirely new photochemical technology for water purification. Powered by sunlight, the process destroys contaminants in water without creating hazardous waste. The Puralytics SolarBag water purifier treats 3 litres at a time in 3-4 hours and the LilyPad is designed on a larger scale, and can be used for cleaning up ponds, lakes and catchment areas.
HTI’s HydroPack is a personal water purification pouch that is simply placed into any water source to self-hydrate. The concept is to keep a supply hydrated so that there is always a safe drink available to those in need. HydroPacks are also easily distributed: a standard cargo pallet will hold 94,500 HydroPacks – enough to produce around 47,000 litres of clean water.
The ArborLoo is a very simple and ecological composting toilet, costing around US$5. A shallow pit is dug, filled with dry ash and leaves and covered with a concrete seat. After each use, a cup of soil and wood ash mixture is added to encourage composting, reduce smell and discourage insect breeding. Once the pit is filled, it is covered with top soil and crops are planted, providing the roots with rich nutrients. A new structure is then built and the process repeated.
Peepoo is a self-sanitising biodegradable bag designed for single-use; is easy and hygienic to use and simple to produce. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security. Because Peepoo is small, lightweight and not fixed in place, it can easily be used indoors or carried to a secluded spot for use as a private toilet. PeePoo focus on serving those in urban slums, schools and responding to natural disasters.
Safelet and Cuff are GPS-equipped bracelets with integrated microphones. These technologies have the potential to be used by emergency responders being deployed in dangerous areas. They allow the wearer to send out an emergency alert to a chosen recipient, signalling they are in distress and providing their GPS location for recovery.
Fieldtrate Lites (water)
Barcock, A. (2015, May 8). Solutions That Are Saving Lives in Humanitarian Response - AID and INTERNATIONAL Development Forum. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from http://www.aidforum.org/disaster-relief/top-solutions-that-are-saving-lives-in-humanitarian-response
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