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Public: Information: Database
Database of Practical Needs   (+7)  [vote for, against]
Here's what's *really* needed to make a difference.

I fully agree that much of various space programs and high level research is a driver for broad human advancement. However much of the inventive effort in the developed world goes into pure consumerism - into making some entertainment widget more widgetty than last month's version.

There are inventors (and halfbakers) of good will, seeking inventive challenges and the fulfilment of helping others less fortunate, who are largely unaware of conditions and daily issues of survival outside of their own communities.

The Database of Practical Needs will be a listing of thousands of community-specific engineering, mechanical, medical etc problems in need of solution, each of which, if solved cheaply, would make a great impact on the daily lives of some community in a developing nation.

Companies could adopt causes - "Gillette is pleased to anounce that we have delayed development of our six-bladed vibrating molybdenum lubricated titanium laser razor for one week, in order to help the family of Mr Kratchai Kittybumsang construct a python-proof duck enclosure"
-- ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 25 2005

Appropriate Technology http://en.wikipedia...ropriate_technology
Wikipedia's contribution [BunsenHoneydew, Nov 25 2005]

If any idea is worth a bun, it's this one [+]. Well done!

We often get so obsessed with the latest developments in Wi-Fi, DVD, Pirates, Line Dancing and Custard that we forget that novel inventions for simple problems in the 3rd World can mean the difference between life and death.

Unfortunatley we don't have many 3rd World half-bakers to tell us how self-obsessed we are, and to tell us the problems that need solving. And allowing them to access this "Database" might be the hard part.
-- Minimal, Nov 25 2005

Beautiful! +

And we have to convince each company that they do NOT have to announce their efforts to the world through ads (which is common practice now so that the marketing and advertising departments can show their worth). The money saved on each advertisement may make another 100 duck enclosures python free.
-- sleeka, Nov 25 2005

This is generally known as the appropriate technology movement. For example, using supercomputing clusters to model the fluid dynamics of combustion gases in typical village wood-burning clay ovens, then feeding the improved designs back to the villagers, resulting in less back-breaking wood gathering for them, and less greenhouse gases for everyone.

Not baked as a single all-encompassing database AFAIK, but some friends of mine are working on it, in their usual ADHD kind of way.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Nov 25 2005

random, halfbakery