Amy Smith, eco-designer interviewed

"When you're designing a consumer product for people with less than a dollar a day to spend, affordability becomes extremely important." Great to see I.D. Magazine giving space to the other end of the design spectrum. They have a Q&A; interview with Amy Smith, 41, a mechanical engineer, who designs for developing communities. Although she seems to have won a major award of some description every year since 1988 (!) it was 2004 when she was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." Why? 'Cos her imagination and problem-solving has developed a raft of inventions , including a water purification technology and a charcoal-making scheme, using ag-waste rather than timber. She is also a lecturer at MIT, in sustainable design for developing countries, through a program called D-lab. Elsewhere she is quoted as saying her motivation stems from a sense that "the most needy are often the least empowered to invent solutions to their problems". ::ID Online [by WM]