Design Challenge Grand Prize: Care Cube

by Jameson Simpson

Creators: Alexander Rose and Danny Hillis
Community: Villages lacking key infrastructure
Project: Portable communications, water purification and energy station

In designing their “systematic infrastructure collapse syndrome CARE package,” Alexander Rose and Danny Hillis considered that disaster inevitably leads to a need for three things: clean water, communications and power. Rose and Hillis’s aircraft-deployable station comes equipped with a water-purification unit, a computer and PDA-like networked communication devices, and a Stirling engine and power generator. An induction hose sucks in river water for purification. Users can borrow PDAs, which ping messages to one another and, when close enough to home base, into cyberspace. To make electricity, users either hop onto a stationary bike and pedal, hamster-style, or they can burn wood, rice husks or other combustibles. Weather permitting, the station’s Stirling engine can also run on solar power.