Foto: Presse

Back to Basics: Low-Tech Innovations

Who says innovations have to be high-tech? Nowadays, gadgets are always related to high-tech electronic devices and are usually connected to the internet. Nevertheless, not all innovations or gadgets have to be high-tech in order to survive in this day and age, and this is proven by the low-tech innovations listed below. These innovations are not only low-tech, but also low cost – and some are even life-saving.

Text by: Yati Chen

Help Desk


Help Desk doubles as both a desk and a school backpack made from recycled cardboard. It is a solution created by a non-profit organization in New Bombay, Aarambh, to help school children in rural India that don’t have the luxuries of school bags or desks in their classroom. Not only is it ecological, economical, and portable, Help Desk is also, well, helpful.

Mitti Cool


This refrigerator doesn’t need electricity and it’s simply made of clay. Mitti Cool keeps fruits and vegetables cool by using the natural cooling effect of water evaporation. It has two water tanks, one on top and one below, with two chambers for storing food. The water can also be used as drinking water, which is also cool. Fruits and vegetables stay fresh inside Mitti Cool for up to six days, and milk for up to three.

Q Drum


A hybrid of a wheel and a water gallon, Q Drum aims to help people in underdeveloped countries that have limited access to clean water. With its rolling ability and a rope tied through the hole of the drum for pulling, Q Drum enables the user to transport 50 liters of water easily. What’s more, it reduces both the travel time and energy used by people who regularly need to transport clean water from faraway places to their homes.



This drinking-straw-water-filter has the ability to filter out up to 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa, thus making it possible for the user to drink directly from the source of water, such as a dirty river. LifeStraw requires no electrical power, batteries or replacement parts, and can filter up to 1,000 liters of water. That is equal to approximately one year of everyday use, or more than one year of occasional use. However, it doesn’t filter chemicals, so no drinking from the swimming pool.



Adspecs are self-adjustable glasses that allow the user to adjust the power of the lens according to the user’s vision. The lenses are actually two flexible membranes protected by plastic covers, and filled with silicone oil that can be added or reduced. To adjust the power of the lenses, the user simply turns the wheels of the syringes that injected the fluid to the lenses. These glasses are created by nonprofit organization, ‘Centre for Vision in The Developing World’, who’s mission it is to help people who can’t afford normal glasses.

Rocking Knit


Is it possible to produce a knitted hat while relaxing in a rocking chair and reading a newspaper, without even touching the yarn? Yes, because Rocking Knit will do that for you. While you are rocking in the chair, the kinetic motion turns the gears in the frame above your head, activating low-tech machinery that draws yarn up from a spool beneath the seat, and knits the hat above your head.



At a glance, GiraDora might look like a drum with a cushioned cover, a pedal and a pipe. But actually, it is a pedal-powered washing machine and spin-dryer. The user just needs to sit on top of the drum and pump the pedal with one foot, without the effort usually needed for hand-washing the clothes. GiraDora makes washing and drying clothes without electricity a lot easier. In addition, it doesn’t use a lot of water to wash the clothes and thus is eco-friendly.

Grid-it Organizer


This simple organizer consists of a woven grid of elastic bands that can be configured as you need. Grid-it keeps all the small stuffs such as mobile phones, cables, and pens from scattering inside your bag. This smart organizer holds the items on a board using the elastic bands, so you can easily store them inside your bag without the need to rummage around for them again.