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The Other 90 Percent

This morning on the New York Times website, the most e-mailed article spotlights the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum's new exhibit, "Design for the Other 90%." On view in New York through September 23, the exhibition focuses on the ways "designers, engineers, students and professors, architects, and social entrepreneurs from all over the globe are devising cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, healthcare, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation for those who most need them."

OLPC.jpgFor example, the Pot-in-Pot cooler—made of two clay pots, water, and sand—creates an affordable and accessible electricity-free refrigeration system for food transportation and preservation. The LifeStraw, a portable water-filtration device, aims to make water safe for 1.1 billion people in the world without permanent access to clean drinking water, at a cost of a few dollars per person. And the durable XO Laptop (at right), the basis of the One Laptop per Child program, costs as little as $100 and can produce its own electricity when its user cranks a handle, pulls a cord, or pushes a pedal.

View more of these ingenious solutions to critical problems at the links below. (Both the LifeStraw and XO Laptop are also featured in the World Almanac for Kids 2008, which will appear on bookshelves in June.)

Design For the Other 90% [Cooper Hewitt]
Design That Solves Problems for the World’s Poor [NY Times]


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