Day 34 in Bangkok – Measuring Fat, Products, & Desires

March 20, 2019 · Posted in innovation · Comment 

Day 34 of First Principles in Bangkok is a product review of a Xiaomi Mi Fit Smart scale as an example of measuring fat to explain my startup app QuickMatch that measures “fuzzy” desires. I cover the entire process of choosing the product, receiving it, setup, & using it. There are many meta lessons in this video.

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.

Aquapod Emergency Water Storage

April 12, 2011 · Posted in innovation · Comment 

Aquapod Emergency Water Storage
Aquapod Emergency Water Storage is a low cost way to safely store 65 gallons of clean water, a 14 day supply for a family of four.
Not exactly an overlooked innovation since the plastic technology to make this cheap is fairly new. This does use an existing resource, the bath tub, to provide the strength to store the water which weight 520 lbs (236 kg). Using the bathtub this way allows the Aquapod to be much thinner plastic and thus lower cost. It also uses a space which won’t be used during an emergency. If the water is not running the bath tub won’t be used so storing water there does not take up extra space. Furthermore it uses the readily available supply from the faucet, assuming to have time to prepare for an outage. The kit comes with a hand pump making it perfect for use when power is out.

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