The D-Lab at MIT: Engineering by and for Developing Nations

Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations November 01, 2011

A visit to the award-winning D-Lab (Design, Develop, Disseminate) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to talk with founder-engineer, Amy Smith and D-Lab staff who guide the various innovative D-Lab engineering projects in developing nations all over the world.

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The D-Lab grew out of the dual interests of Founder and Director, Amy Smith. One objective is to help communities in developing nations to create engineering solutions for their specific needs in health care, water purification, grain processing, and other concerns, using mainly materials at hand. The D-Lab provides workshops to get people started, and soon the people themselves develop equipment and even start businesses. The second objective of D-Lab is to engage MIT engineering students in the design-development-dissemination process. The D-Lab courses are so popular that students are accepted only by lottery. Engineering students and ordinary people collaborate on simple, elegant and inexpensive equipment that meets specific local needs around the world. D-Lab is a whole new way of learning for everyone involved.

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Amy Smith at the 2006 TED Conference
2011 Olympus Innovation Award Amy Smith on the 2010 TIME 100 World's Most Influential People 2004 MacArthur "Genius" Award, MIT News article