I’ve been following some links from Vinay Gupta:
Here’s a good idea: Appropedia--a wiki devoted to sustainable living and international development.
Here’s another good idea: a sun-absorbing coating that can be applied like paint to all kinds of surfaces and transform them into energy sources.
Here’s another good idea: a build-it-yourself two-hundred dollar shelter that can be used for refugees, or for disaster relief, or just for the hell of it.
Here a post with some more promising ideas, like precision agriculture for the developing world that uses GPS technology to track farmers’ cellphones and then provides them with customized farming recommendations, and this:
. . . to develop an integrated set of medical practices (these 24 drugs which don’t require refrigeration, don’t produce overdose easily, and are less than $10 per course) with an expert system which can be accessed both by patients themselves to figure out if their symptoms are problematic or not, and by slightly trained health care workers who would use the systems to figure out what to prescribe from their standard pharmacopoeia.
It’s not much, but for the poorest two or three billion, this could be the only health care service they ever see. None of the problems are particularly intractable, but you better bet there’s a VAST - and I mean VAST - distributed call center application at the core of this. Link.