This is the most clever thing I have seen in a long time. The equa­tion is sim­ple:

2(cardboard box) + black paint + alu­mini­um foil + acrylic cov­er = Kyoto Box

There’s an image of the final result over here.

Attrib­ut­es include:

  • costs just $US 5 to pro­duce
  • amaz­ing­ly sim­ple to cre­ate
  • com­plete­ly solar pow­ered: no need for fuel
  • no green­house gas emis­sions in usage (can pre­vent two tonnes of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions per fam­i­ly per year)

As an advo­cate of appro­pri­ate tech­nol­o­gy, I find this inven­tion to be very excit­ing. The abil­i­ty to eas­i­ly cre­ate clean drink­ing water and cook food can in one fell swoop elim­i­nate many of the prob­lems and points of con­flict in the devel­op­ing world.

Of course, real­i­ty is much more com­plex than that, but I am hope­ful. One thing that remains to be seen is whether this idea actu­al­ly takes off. I’ve seen a num­ber of good ideas fail to take hold, often due to inter­fer­ence or lack of inter­est from polit­i­cal or cor­po­rate enti­ties. The bane of these low-tech solu­tions is the per­ceived lack of any prof­it motive. Com­pa­nies find it dif­fi­cult to make any mon­ey off it, but they can make a killing from sell­ing their Machine That Goes Ping at $999.99 a pop (of which, only $5 will go towards pro­duc­ing and improv­ing the prod­uct, and the rest goes to mar­ket­ing and legal).

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