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Low-Tech Transferable Designs: Pictorial Manuals

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 23rd, 2011

Source: No Tech Magazine

From “When Low-Tech Goes IKEA” edited by Deva Lee:

What happens when two industrial design students from Sweden end up in Kenya creating a pedal powered machine for small-scale farmers who are often illiterate and speak more than 60 languages? You get a do-it-yourself design that seems to have come out of the IKEA factories – pictorial manuals included. “Made in Kenya“, the bachelor project of Niklas Kull and Gabriella Rubin, is a textbook example of low-tech made accessible to everybody, regardless of their native tongue and language skills. […]

The students had two aims for their project: to improve the economic conditions of the local small-scale farmers, who make up three quarters of the workforce in the country, and to stimulate the local manufacturing industry. At present, Kenya lacks an industrial-scale manufacturing industry and is highly dependent on the import of goods. The juice extractor is of a capacity and cost that would allow a small group of neighbouring farmers to invest collectively in a small production facility. To keep production costs low, ensure availability in rural areas and promote the domestic manufacturing capacity, the pedal-powered machine does not require complex components or manufacturing methods.  The design manual is aimed at the Jua Kali – the informal manufacturing sector which represents an estimated six million of the Kenyan workforce. With limited capital, modest workshop facilities and narrow access to raw materials, these self-employed blacksmiths and carpenters make handmade products – such as agricultural implements, hand tools and kitchen utensils – at a lower price than the imported goods.

Read the full article on No Tech Magazine.

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