Technology news stories these days tend to lean toward hi-tech consumer gadgetry with cool features but rather limited utility, in the grand scheme of things. So sometimes it's nice to take a look at concepts that employ low technology in the service of genuine usefulness.
For instance, consider the dew-collecting greenhouse from Roots Up, a tiny non-profit operation affiliated with Ethiopia's University of Gondar. Designed for multifunction use, this low-tech, low-cost greenhouse could help farmers raise fresh vegetables, even under drought conditions.
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By trapping hot air and humidity in the mid-day sun, the greenhouse provides an improved atmosphere for plant growth. The greenhouse simultaneously works as a dew collector, capturing evaporation within the bio-plastic sheeting at the top of the dome.
When temperatures cool in the evening, farmers can pull a rope opening a latch at the top of the dome in such a way that water droplets cool and condense, falling into a collection cistern below. The collected water can then be used for drinking water or further irrigation.
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The greenhouse also works as a rainwater collector, and is intended to be a low-cost solution for Ethiopian farmers to maintain self-reliant farms in the area.
Roots Up hopes to deploy its first series of Dew Collector greenhouses in northern Ethiopia. You can read more about the initiative on the project page, or check out the short demonstration video below.