Interest: Ugandan Man Uses a Bike to Save Lives


Many people in remote areas around the globe die because they can’t reach a medical clinic or hospital in time. Travel to and from remote villages is either impossible or too treacherous at times. However, a young man is changing the way sick people are transported to hospitals in Uganda.

Chris Ategeka was only 9 when his younger brother died as Chris was helping to carry him to the nearest hospital, which was 10 miles away from their village in Uganda. Later, Chris would become an orphan along with his five siblings after their parents died of AIDS.

Chris was then sponsored by a California family for his education and impressed the family so much that they invited him to come to California to live with them in 2006. Since his arrival, he has earned engineering degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. He will also start his doctorate in mechanical engineering this fall.

While his educational career is impressive, that’s not the most impressive thing he has done. Chris is the founder of CA Bikes, a nonprofit that teaches villagers how to build bikes used as ambulances and wheelchairs from scrap metal.

“I teach you how to make it, and I teach you how to fix it,” Chris says. “If it breaks, you know what to do, and if you want to build something you think outside the box and you do it.”

Chris estimates that the nonprofit has distributed more than 1,000 bikes and bike ambulances throughout Uganda. It’s also estimated that only 100 bike ambulances can transport 10,000 people a month, with the average cost per bike at $600.

The nonprofit also supplies bikes for children to go to school, leading to an attendance and performance increase of 90 percent after children received bikes, according to the nonprofit.

Chris’s goal for CA Bikes is to create jobs in Uganda and to be a self-sustaining organization.

(story source: NPR)



Interest: One Man and His 3D Printer

Credit: Ivan Sentch

Credit: Ivan Sentch

If you haven’t heard much about 3D printing, then you might want to run a quick Google search. Soon, I believe, 3D printing will completely revolutionize the manufacturing and production world, which will change business entirely.

In some regards, 3D printing scares me and it excites me. I’ll explain those later in this article, but for now, I want to tell you about a recent project one man is working on with his 3D printer, probably one of the greatest projects yet with the printer.

Ivan Sentch, a New Zealander, is using a 3D printer to make his wildest dreams come true. That dream is to create his own Astin Martin DB4 vehicle. With the average price of the vehicle fluctuating between $330,000 and $1.7 million on the market, Sentch decided he wasn’t ready or prepared to throw that kind of cash to the wind for a vehicle of his dreams.

So what do you do when you want something but you don’t have the money? Well, now you just print it.

Now, according to Gizmag and Solidoodle (3D printer company), Sentch is not a 3D printing genius. He’s just a highly motivated man.

With his Solidoodle printer, he has manufactured most of the vehicle with only 28% of the body remaining, plus the dash. Since his $500 printer is no mega-machine, he has to print most of the vehicle in 4 x 4 inch sections and then mold them into place. It doesn’t sound easy, and it isn’t, but it’s better than paying serious cash for the vehicle.

You might say this is the ultimate DIY project and this is only the beginning for the 3D printing world.

My Excitement with 3D Printing:

As I mentioned early, 3D printing will eventually change consumerism and manufacturing – I believe it. As printer prices continue to drop and become more available, more people will have them in their homes and begin to manufacture simple household goods rather than going to the store.

It will be as simple as downloading a plan from the Internet, using some modeling software to tweak or adjust the plan and then printing and assembling the product. It sounds awesome and sounds cheap. I personally enjoy DIY projects, as long as they are fairly simple to figure out.

This would streamline DIY projects and people could start printing all of their household goods, from tables to chairs to beds and so on. We could do more for less and customize everything for our needs.

Sounds great.

My Fear of 3D Printing:

Once 3D printing is more available for the average consumer, you can throw copyright and trademark out the window. It will be much more difficult for a business to create a product and sell it without the fear of piracy. Eventually, databases will exist with plans for nearly any product on the market and for free, just like music and movies right now. This is what I believe at least.

Since the Internet is uncontrollable in many regards, there is no way a business can control who can create and build their trademarked product. Someone can simply take a product, develop a plan and either offer it for free or sell it to others, benefiting from another’s creation.

This could send business into chaos in some senses.

Also, don’t even get me started on what people may be able to do with the printer as far as creating weapons. We know someone has already created the first gun with a printer. We don’t know how well it works and I wouldn’t use one for sure, but that’s not going to stop people from creating more guns, and worse, missiles and “weapons of mass destruction.

3D printing is exciting, but I’m also fearful of its result. I just don’t trust folks out there with that type of power.

What do you think?