Why you should care
If we were venture capitalists, these are ideas we’d put our $$ behind.
Can a billboard save the Earth?
Peru’s University of Technology and Engineering (UTEC) has transformed the advertising behemoths into sources of clean air and water for the local community. Students and staff from UTEC have partnered with a local advertising company, FCB Mayo, to create an air-purifying billboard using existing technology cleverly placed inside the highway sign. The billboard sucks air into a water tank, which balances internal heat and traps particles, allowing clean air to flow out the other side. Best of all, the billboard can be placed near construction zones to alleviate pollution.
American highway crews, take note. Read more here.
A core objective of journalism is to spread information for the benefit of society — a goal that is increasingly carried out online these days. But sometimes an old-fashioned print newspaper is still the most powerful engine for public good — in highly unexpected ways. Earlier this year, advertising powerhouse Leo Burnett in Sri Lanka partnered with the Sinhala-language newspaper Mawbima in a campaign to fight deadly dengue fever. Together they created what could be the world’s first mosquito-repellent newspaper.
The next time you complain when the ink from your Sunday paper gets on your fingers, imagine the potential of that ink to save lives — and perhaps you’ll be less bugged. Read more here.
Beth Kolko, who runs a medical device company called Shift Labs , has been studying up for more than two decades, researching the use of technology in not-so-silicon-drenched places. Over that time, Kolko has seen hacks that could rival anything coming out of Silicon Valley’s startups: from a DIY phone booth developed by a Tajikistan resident to a device for assisted childbirth invented by an Argentine auto mechanic. Which has given her an eye on the big, groundbreaking picture: Third-world ideas can bubble up to the first world — not just the other way around. Next in the pipeline are an oxygen monitor, a cooling system for vaccines and a device to pasteurize breast milk. Read more here.