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What is it? The Hexayurt
is a refugee shelter system based on work done at the Rocky Mountain Institute. It uses an approach based on "autonomous building" to provide not just a shelter, but a comprehensive family support unit which includes drinking water purification, composting toilets, fuel-efficient stoves and solar electric lighting. Other systems can be added in a modular fashion.
Is this for real? Yes. Both the American Red Cross and the US Department of Defense have examined the Hexayurt system in detail and found that it has considerable merit and utility. I hope that we will see it in use by international agencies within two years.
The best place to get started is to read the slides from the presentation Vinay Gupta gave at the Pentagon in December 2006: Pentagon Presentation (pdf) - 20 pages, not much text, and the best summary of the system we currently have online.
Projected Costs: Shelter: $200 - $500+ per single family unit depending on size, climate and use duration
Infrastructure Package: around $100 per unit.
A scary earthen oven that uses three layers to maximize efficiency, and all three types of heat to maximize the flavor.
An individuals health greatly influences their ability to support themselves, provide for their family, and contribute to the community. Because of this, access to care and the health of a community is central to any development effort.
Unfortunately, health care is poorly distributed around the world. Southern hemisphere countries are much more likely to suffer from lack of access to care. One aspect of this disparity is the health technology gap between developed and developing nations. While developed countries continue to invest in high technology equipment, developing countries often lack the most basic health care tools. Appropriate Medical Technologies (AMT's) can help communities, governments and development agencies create simple, low-cost, and culturally appropriate responses to health care problems.
The use of appropriate technologies is less common in healthcare than other fields such as construction or agriculture. However, there is significant crossover between the public health field and the water and sanitation fields, areas that are more familiar with appropriate technologies. Appropriate technology is often used to develop mobility and rehabilitation equipment as well as tests used to diagnose diseases.