Designs for a better world emerge from M.I.T. summit

For three weeks this summer, masons and mechanics, farmers and welders, scientists and a pastor threw themselves into creating low-tech solutions to big problems that persist across the globe.

Converging here at the MIT, these 61 inventors from 20 countries divided into multilingual teams, each drafting and tinkering with their own device that will hopefully make life for the world’s poor a little easier. There was no grand prize to be won at this second-annual International Development Design Summit (IDDS), but members sometimes skipped meals and stayed up late – sawing, hammering, and welding – to perfect and build their designs. Soon, their prototypes will be rebuilt and refined in the developing world by artisans using locally available materials and tested ultimately by consumers who live on less than a dollar a day.

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