"A bicycle that can peddle both on water and the road, a motorcycle used to pump out water from deep wells and a cellphone that can switch on electrical appliances within a specific radius! Self-taught mechanics in India are pioneering these and many more. With such inventions, self-taught mechanics or villagers with little or no formal education to their credit are transforming the limited opportunities available to them in remote and rural areas, say experts."Formal and informal science can be linked to create new innovations and transform the opportunities available in rural India," says Anil Gupta of the Indian Institute of Management, who has taken upon himself to collect and collate such traditional information scattered all over the country under his Honey Bee network."
You can search their innovation database for more grassroots innovations.
Om Malik makes a point about how technology cannot be an end in itself, in response to the media blitz around the Nicholas Negroponte's 100-dollar laptop and the news item that a small village in India got itself a website.
[read the rest on 'Conversations with Dina']