Traditional microscopes, even the low-cost ones, are underutilized because of their power and maintenance requirements. A typical microscope requires 30W of clean AC power, which is not necessarily available in rural clinics. Maintenance is complex and expensive: bulbs costs $20 to replace, skilled technicians are needed to calibrate it, and in dusty environments, there is a constant need for diligence in keeping the various surfaces clean.
D-Rev prototyped and field tested a production-ready microscope for use in the developing world that combines high-resolution imaging, extreme affordability, and long-term durability in adverse environments. We estimated the Global Scope would cost $250 for brightfield illumination and $450 for epi-fluorescence illumination—less than one-third of the cost of a conventional microscope.
The Global Scope project closed in 2010 because although there is a need that is ripe for innovation, our due diligence suggested that there was insufficient market demand to make the product commercially viable.
Access For Agriculture
primary livelihood Phase 2 Report: Devices For Agriculture Extension: A Comparative Landscape Study
Of the over 4 billion people who now survive on less than a $4 per a day, 800 million earn their primary livelihood from small farms. Living in remote rural areas, they generally have no way of obtaining information on the latest farming practices. Yet, access to appropriate information could comfortably double or triple incomes in many of these rural farming households.
Access for Agriculture was a comparative landscape study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. D-Rev surveyed 12 available devices in terms of cost and features, and conducted farmer feedback studies of three devices with agricultural stakeholders and end users in India. Very rarely do devices alone cause a measurable impact, so we were also interested in understanding what sorts of market or social mechanisms would promote device use and market penetration. D-Rev was ultimately interested in creating an affordable and effective solution that will enable farmers’ ready access to suitable and value-adding agricultural practices.
Access for Agriculture closed in 2012 because it was an exploratory study.
1.6 billion people around the world currently live without access to electricity. Their options—diesel, conventional solar, and sometimes grid power—are all well beyond their means. Yet, most of them spend upwards of $100 per year on energy for kerosene lighting, cell phone charging, and batteries for flash-lights and radios.
Rise Solar developed a patent-pending solar concentrator that provides electricity for cell phone chargers, batteries, and other devices through our charge control circuitry. The device is modular and versatile, enabling the user to tailor the system to his or her end use.
Multiple concentrators interconnect to create bigger systems. This modularity allows us to respond quickly to market demand by providing accessories that interface with the concentrator and fit the users’ needs.
Rise Solar closed in 2012. Although it is an innovative idea, the costs in the solar market have come down significantly, making Rise Solar a less viable commercial option.
Milk To Market
Remote rural farmers with dairy livestock face challenges getting their milk to market since unpasteurized milk can spoil quickly in warm climates. Pasteurized milk spoils in as little as four hours in 30°C temperatures. To prolong shelf life, farmers in East Africa must bring their fresh milk to a chilling plant immediately after milking. For rural farmers, this is simply not possible—they live too far away. Milking typically occurs twice a day (morning and evening), and some farmers sell their milk to milk collectors who come by bicycle typically in the mornings. Many farmers want to sell some or all of their evening milk, but there is no way for them to bring it to market before it spoils. Focusing on Uganda and Western Kenya, D-Rev explored ways for farmers to preserve their milk overnight so it could be sold to the morning milk collectors.
From D-Rev’s testing and analysis of the milk customer chain, we found that the plastic jerry can, which is widely used as a low-cost storage vessel, is a primary source of contamination. It is difficult to clean thoroughly and bacteria inside the handle and along the seams causes fresh milk to rapidly spoil.
Milk to Market closed in 2010 because even though our extensive due diligence showed promising solutions, D-Rev believed more effort was needed to understand users and the root problems of spoiling before shifting focus to technological innovation. Ultimately, we had insufficient funding for the necessary design process.
Working with partners, D-Rev explored three interventions that will help bring rural farmers’ milk to market:
- Low temperature pasteurization on the farm using a simple kitchen thermometer and the farmer’s stove
- Cleaning storage and transport containers with a low cost chlorine bleach, which can be made with a salt water solution and an electro-chlorinator
- Cold pasteurization of milk at “aggregation points” (where farmers and milk collectors meet to exchange milk) using UV-C ionizing radiation