Design for the Other 90%, a traveling exhibition of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, is bringing creative design to the people who need it most. Divided into six focus areas—shelter, health, water, education, energy, and transport—the exhibit is the brainchild of a global community of designers, engineers, academics, architects, and social entrepreneurs. With projects ranging from a durable, low-cost prosthetic foot for landmine amputees in Afghanistan and the Sudan (the Jaipur foot); to portable and reliable water-purification tools for Africa and the Middle East (the LifeStraw); to inexpensive, disaster-relief shelters that require no tools to assemble (Global Village Shelters, in use in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Grenada, the United States, and southern Asia), Design for the Other 90% showcases projects that bring cheap, innovative solutions to the world's poor.
Many in the developing world live with disabling hearing impairments but cannot afford to repeatedly replace the battery in a conventional hearing aid. The Solar Aid, another project featured in the exhibition, is a solar-powered hearing-aid battery recharger that drastically cuts costs for the hearing impaired. The Solar Aid, developed in Botswana by Godisa Technologies, has distributed more than 7,000 units to people in South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia.