ATC is teaching a class – “Circuits and Solar” in Guatemala this month. Our team of local engineers are teaching a very hands-on class that communicates the essence electricity, circuits and then how to make and install a small scale solar home energy system. The ultimate goal is to get solar into households that lack […]
By the year 2030 slum cities around the world will grow by over a billion people. Most poor people on the planet will live in slums and The Appropriate Technology Collaborative will be there to design new affordable, sustainable products that improve life and provide opportunity. We are developing relationships with people in Managua […]
Last year, thanks to the hard work and commitment of our clients in developing countries, and literally hundreds of volunteers from the U.S., we were able to achieve astounding progress on our goal of developing and distributing affordable, sustainable technological solutions that empower people and promote dignity. Working side-by-side with our partners in developing countries, […]
M-HEAL team students meet with midwives of the indigenous Kaqchikel group in a small settlement outside of Comalopa in rural Guatemala. The students are trying to asses the needs and skills of the nurses and midwives to better design a remote stethoscope that would send heart-sounds of patients in rural part of Guatemala to a Guatemala City hospital.
Check Out Video: Students Without Borders
Photo & Video by Marcin Szczepanski, Multimedia Content Producer/CoE’s Communications and Marketing
. Update: Thanks to you we were successful with our Global Giving campaign! We will be returning to Guatemala Spring 2012 to continue our work with the women’s weaving cooperative. . We need to raise just $1,600.00 to make our overall goal of $5,000.00 for the Women Wind Weavers project on Global Giving. Any size […]
From Michigan Engineering:
Two things stand out in the town of Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, Guatemala: electric power is scarce and women are expert weavers. A Michigan Engineering student team used those two facts as a basis for a project in which they designed a wind turbine with blades that are covered with woven material and powerful enough to drive a small electric generator to produce clean, emissions-free power – green energy is popular even in rural Guatemala.
The students initiated the project with the hopes that their device would provide power to the region and stimulate business for the weaving cooperatives. During spring break, 2011, the team traveled to Guatemala to build the frames of the blades from local materials and then cover them with cloth woven nearby.
Photo by Marcin Szczepanski, Multimedia Content Producer/CoE’s Communications and Marketing
We have started our spring 2011 campaign to fund the Women Wind Weavers of Guatemala. Donate: Women Wind Weavers
Women bear the brunt of global poverty. Of the 1.2 billion living in abject poverty (less than $1.00 / day) an astonishing 70% are women. Women’s poverty leads to children’s malnutrition, stunted growth and cognitive impairment.
We need to create new opportunities for women to take control over their financial destiny
Our collaborative design team provides opportunity from the start. We are working with a local womens weaving cooperative to co-create a new technology that uses the traditional skills in new ways.
To help thousands of women, we will publish the Woven Wind Turbine online along with instructional photos and video. From our previous projects we expect dozens of nonprofits (NGOs) around the world to use our designs to help create new income for poor women worldwide.
We started working on the design and method of construction for woven wind turbine blades in September 2010. In February / March 2011 we met with our local partners in Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacah, Guatemala. Collectively we began the design process for weaving both traditional fibers and high-strength fibers to create strong fabric that can then be formed into high efficiency wind turbine blades.
Read more and donate at: Women Wind Weavers
Communications and Marketing Department
College of Engineering
University of Michigan
At a clinic in the mountains of central Guatemala, a mother and baby waited hopefully for the American students and their special stethoscope.
The tool could eventually help diagnose congenital heart defects early enough for children to get preventative treatment and avoid permanent damage to their hearts, brains and lungs. But right now, it’s an early prototype.
The Michigan Engineering students were visiting the clinic to learn how to improve their device. Because it’s still in the development stage, they weren’t prepared to actually use it yet.
“It broke our hearts to have to say we could not help,” said Nathaniel Skinner, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering who is leading the team designing the stethoscope. “The team was surprised, saddened, and encouraged. Nothing could make us want to move faster and deliver technology and hope to Dr. Christian Barrios and his staff more intensely.”
Dr. Barrios heads a clinic in Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán—one of many the students visited this week as they journey across Guatemala. They’re meeting with the midwives, doctors and patients who need this technology as the students work to refine it into something that can help save young lives. The College of Engineering’s Marcin Szczepanski is traveling with the team and posting photos, videos and observations of the trip on tumblr.
More: After The Jump
Photo: Marcin Szczepanski
M-HEAL team students meet with midwives of the indigenous Kaqchikel group in a small settlement outside of Comalopa in rural Guatemala. The students are trying to assess the needs and skills of the nurses and midwives to better design a remote stethoscope that would send heart-sounds of patients in rural part of Guatemala to a Guatemala City hospital .
Photo by Marcin Szczepanski, Multimedia Content Producer/CoE’s Communications and Marketing
M-HEAL team answers questions about the Guatemala trip
1.) Traveling in Guatemala doing research for this project, what has been the biggest surprise for you so far?
When traveling in Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, we visited a local clinic to speak with their staff and find out if the technology we would be developing came across as helpful. Although John Barrie from ATC had been explicit that we were in our own infancy as a project, the clinic had been hopeful that we could use our stethoscope on a patient they had brought in. We, by no means, were in a position to be able to assist the baby or mother, and it broke our hearts to have to say we could not help.
To us, this elicited the most unique combination of emotions. We wanted to help but could not. We had been explicit that we were not prepared to actually work with children, yet they had wanted just that. It was frustrating and, at the same time, so uniquely touching to see how hopeful they were for our work—even desperate. If we had any doubt that this project would be important, or even pivotal to some of the regions of Guatemala, our experience made quick work to oust those concerns.
The team was surprised, saddened, and encouraged. Nothing could make us want to move faster and deliver technology and hope to Christian Barrios (the doctor) and his staff more intensely.
2.) What is one thing you’ve learned over the past few days of meeting with midwives, Dr. Castañeda and relatives of patients?
We have really narrowed down on our objective. Before we came to Guatemala, we did not know too much about our end-users; now we have seen them face to face. We have determined where everyone sits in the line of people needed to make our project a success, and we have learned their roles. If distilled to one thing, we have learned the work-flow of the vision Dr. Castaneda and the doctors see for this project and are much better equipped to try and deliver it.
3.) Is this trip changing your perspective on anything? If so, what and how?
It would be impossible for our perspective not to change. From the trivial fact that cars always have the right of way to the profound realization of the capacity for the locals to organize themselves and fix a health system to the best of their abilities, we’ve been impressed and moved (and have not gotten run over by any cars—so it’s a good trip).
4.) Are there any other important revelations you’ve had so far that you want to mention?
Seeing the midwives, nurses, and community medical volunteers first-hand at rural clinics made it clear that this project is a collaborative effort. Without full understanding and support from the community, this project will fail. However, it gave us confidence to see volunteer community members taking healthcare into their own hands — through medical education, home visits for newborn checkups, etc — inspiring efforts that could be assisted by the device we are developing. Technology is crucial to the solution, but only one part of the entire “ecosystem” that will improve outcomes for children impacted by congenital heart defects. In the end, Dr. Castaneda’s foundation is the keystone to all of these efforts, without which there would be no option for treating these children.