Low Tech Methods, High Tech Results

By Deane Barker on March 30, 2004

Magnetic Fan in Japan – Japanese Magnetic Fan: Here’s some proof that there are technologies yet to be discovered with things we think have more or less been tapped of ideas. A 58-year-old Japanese inventor created a magnetic motor that uses virtually no electricity.

She then moves us to the next device, a weighty machine connected to a tiny battery. Apparently the load on the machine is a 35kg rotor, which could easily be used in a washing machine. After she flicks the switch, the huge rotor spins at over 1,500 rpms effortlessly and silently. Meters show the power in and power out. Suddenly, a power source of 16 watts or so is driving a device that should be drawing at least 200 to 300 watts.

On the same note, BoingBoing pointed us to a story a few weeks ago about an ultra low-tech refrigerator.

It consists of a smaller clay pot inside a larger clay pot. The gap is filled with damp sand. As the sand water evaporates, the inner pot cools. Food that used to spoil in a few days now stays fresh for weeks.



  1. The Ultra pot in pot low tech fridge has even a lower tech cousin that I used in India in the 1970’s in a Hare Krishna Ashram. A large unglazed pot is filled with water. Plop your fresh fruits and vegies into the water. The evaporation through the pot keeps the water very cool and your fruits fresh. Biodegradable plates and cups: Before plastic smothered India, we bought disposable cups from the local potter. The were unglazed, lightly fired clay cups. You use them once and break them. They returned to the earth without pollution. Originallly plates were made of the leaves of trees sewn together with twigs. Use them once and throw them to the cows to eat. These were kind of leaky plates though. Someone came up with a press that formed the raw leaf plates into a rimmed plate- a bit thicker and with an edge, and still 100% ecological. In those days even the news papers were made into shopping bags and recycled. Now plastic is everwhere, blowing in the wind.

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