Technology is the subject of this week’s talking point. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas flow more easily when you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
• Think about your first computer or mobile phone: How was it different from the one you have today? Think about size, speed, internet connection, programmes, games, and so on.
• Was there anything you preferred about the old model? If so, what?
• Make a list of all the electrical appliances and gadgets have used in the last 24 hours. What did you use them for? Work, study, for fun, household/everyday chores?
• Which appliance or gadget is the most important one? Why?
• In which of the following areas do you think the main breakthrough of the next 50 years will come? artificial intelligence - augmented reality - communications - energy use - medicine - space exploration - transport
• How do third-world and developing countries manage without many of the technological devices you mentioned above?
• How would your life be different without your car or your mobile phone, for instance?
To illustrate the topic, read the BBC article Medical devices for world's poorest on show and watch the video clip below, which shows the way technology is adapted in the medical field in developing countries in Africa.
What’s your reaction to the video? Can you think of some other examples of ‘appropriate technology’ (technology adapted to the needs, capabilities and resources of the user) that can be used in third-world and developing countries?
This is the e-ranger ambulance. It’s used in about 16 countries in the developing world. It’s most beneficial in the maternal health issues, enabling women, pregnant women with complications who live a fair distance away from the health center to be able to get to the health center in appropriate time, so that we can reduce maternal mortality.
The main points of the vehicle here are the full-length stretcher, with a nice protective mattress, the main tab underneath which is part of the chassis, also used as a store facility. The road cage here, access protection, and gives easy access to load the patient on to the stretcher. When the mattress… when the road cage is down, a full rain cover can be put over the top to protect from the elements and privacy.
If they are sick or ill at the moment, the… the result… it should be carried on stretchers or wheelbarrow. 4x4s do get through, but they are very expensive to run and the maintenance on those is very, very high. These have managed to get through certainly as much if not more rough areas than 4x4s.
We designed this to be more comfortable than a 4x4 by putting the suspension, making the suspension appropriate for the pilot, which is the way to the patient or whatever you are carrying. As you can see from there, it’s very compliant and takes a lot of impact from the road, whereas opposed to a 4x4 it’s quite heavily sprung and in consequence there are a lot of bouncing around.
Hi, my name’s Tim and I’m taking this scooter out to the developing world. Disability in the developing world is a real problem. This device enables people to travel long distances more effectively and with less stress on the rest of their body.
I was recently in Uganda with a prototype of the scooter and one young man who had lost his foot in a road traffic accident and his stump was extremely sore, this made walking long distances extremely painful. We put him on the scooter and he just wanted to take it home immediately. Answered his problems, he could move a long distance without putting any stress or strain on his sore stump.
Having now established pretty much the final design, we’re still making tweaks. We are just about to start a five-country multi-center trial. We will be exploring how are we going to distribute it, how are we going to fund it. The costings, we’re still working on those. We will be looking at getting funders, sponsors for them once we know the total numbers that we’re talking about on a global basis.