Zero Mines, cheap-low-tech land mine clearing tool

June 6, 2012 · Posted in innovation, sharing · Comment 

Zero Mines is a group of people worldwide working on Open Source solutions for clearing land mines so people can grow food, travel, and live safely. Here is my suggestion.
Cheap-low-tech landmine clearing tool
Over 100 million land mines have been deployed around the world. Most of the places where these land mine are located are impoverished. The area that needs to be cleared is vast. The ideal solution would use cheap, easily available materials, that can be put together by anyone so that local people can quickly clear their own land.

The standard military approach to clearing a mine field is to use a heavily armored vehicle with a motorized flail to trigger the landmines. Armor is one way of staying safe while detonating a mine but not the only way. Distance is another.

A strong rope is cheap and can pull a heavy object across a mine field from a distance to detonate any mines. But you typically must go forward into a mine field. So how can you pull something towards you without first putting it in front of you? There is a very simple way.

The device I described fits those requirements. It is just a big rake rotating on a pivot pulled by a rope or cable from a safe distance to trigger mines.
1. place the pivot
2. pull the rope or cable from a safe distance or behind sand bags
3. sweep the rake over area to be cleared
4. move pivot / rake to cover more area
5. repeat

Dragging an object a distance from the arm would reduce the damage to the arm but even if the arm is damaged it is cheap and easy to replace. This might not be enough for all uses of the land or all types of land but can quickly clear an area for human travel and light use. If you need to go deeper use a heavier object and tines to dig up the ground.

Food Stamp Friday Party, Innovative Business Strategy

April 2, 2012 · Posted in innovation · Comment 

Food Stamp Friday Party

“Po’ need 2 pahty 2”
The absurdity aside, a Food Stamp Friday Party could be an innovative business strategy.

The obvious way to look at it is as a charitable gesture. Truly needy people certainly do need some cheering up and they don’t have the money to go out clubbing. But the indirect alternative could point out hidden markets.

It’s likely the majority of SNAP card holders are women. Discounts for ladies brings in more women and that in turn brings in more men who spend money on drinks for themselves and the ladies.

This may also bring in groups of women who would otherwise not attend. Women tend to prefer going out in groups. If members of their group feel they can’t afford to go out, the whole group may stay at home. By eliminating that objection the party promoter can bring in other women who will spend money.

Don’t forget the party promoter created national attention for his local party. That alone is highly valuable to a promoter since on it’s face the product is a commodity.

So when thinking about potential markets for your products look beyond the obvious customers. Predictive Innovation describes 90 types of business models. Most industries never look at more than 13% of the idea space. That means there could be 78 better business models you overlooked.

Predictive Innovation Training

Cheap Natural Gas Transportation Idea

March 31, 2012 · Posted in innovation · Comment 

Poor people in China transport natural gas in large plastic bags. If this could be made safe it’s a very low cost alternative to expensive pipelines. Natural gas could be quickly and cheaply distributed to places without infrastructure.

Running underground pipes is a large investment. The small amount of natural gas these people would use doesn’t make that investment worth while.

The danger is if the gas is ignited. Three things are required to cause this danger, enough oxygen for ignition, natural gas mixed with oxygen, spark or flame.

A very simple solution is to put the natural gas bag inside another bag filled with carbon-dioxide. This would prevent ignition. CO2 could also be used to prevent an explosion while filling the bag with natural gas. First fill the bag with CO2 then use the natural gas to force out the CO2 into another empty bag of the same size. When the second bag is full you know the first bag is filled with natural gas. The process could then be repeated with the second bag.

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