Saturday, April 01, 2006

Filling a Need for Quick, Low-Cost Housing

"See a need. Fill a need."

This was a catch phrase from the hit animated movie Robots, referring to what inventors do at their most basic level. And this is precisely what Sanford Ponder, founder of Icosa Village Inc., has done with his invention of the Pod.

Ponder is quoted to have said "If we live in a world where people are forced to live in cardboard boxes, then someone should at least invent a better box." Ponder's "better box" solution, which he's termed the Pod, consists of interlocking triangular panels made from Coroplast (a hybrid polypropylene) that are strong, lightweight, water proof, recyclable, and usable in sub-zero environments.

The individual panels are easily transportable and can be assembled without specialized knowledge or tools. They've proven highly effective as temporary housing in recent disaster relief settings, such as the Kashmir region of Pakistan. And Ponder is also promoting their use in longer term, low-cost housing situations.

By coming up with simple technological solution, Ponder has made it possible to adapt his invention to a variety of social, cultural, environmental, and economic contexts. So I think I would revise the catch phrase of Robots to the following:

See a need. Fill a need, simply.

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