I came across this solar powered LED lamp via worldchanging author, product designer Jeremy Faludi. It definitely has an interesting design…wondering why the weird shape? Pictures from his site speak louder than words. First, 3 words “Usable form factor”.
Would be interested in your thoughts on this product. Would you use it? Do you like the design? Is it practical?
What follows are some tangentially related thoughts, just so I am clear, I am not attributing what follows below to the above product. Just thinking through the idea of design ‘for Africa’.
One of the things that came up during a spirited discussion of the solar powered computer and the OLPC laptop many moons ago, was the question of relevant products, and whether these products that are labeled ‘for Africa’ smack of designing down. Maitha asked (in swahili) Don’t Africans deserve products made of high quality – in reference to the OLPC that is currently available for purchase. Granted at the time, maitha was looking at the bulky nature of linux for the OLPC, and the product was still being designed (with myriad challenges to overcome). I have not gotten my hands on and XO but when i do, i would like to revisit some of the issues raised. Particularly (perhaps i am simplifying, but) is the OLPC a good quality product that is relevant for African children? Atanu Dey of Deeshaa.org looked at the OLPC in context of education in India (I need to reacquaint myself with his arguments…I had been following the OLPC dev, then sorta lost track somewhere).
Wired had a profile of the OLPC designer Yves Behar, which I am rereading now, I just recall that he did do some nifty things to get OLPC to be what it is today.So, please chime in with your examples of products you think smack of ‘designing down’ and those that you think are ‘just right’.
My entries for the ‘just right’ category are
– mysoldius solar charger for mobile phone and IPOD (blogged about here)
– Bogo solar flashlight (blogged about here)
These are based on positive feedback from my dear uncle who absolutely finds function and convenience in using the above products.