In the summer of 2011, I spent 5 weeks in Ghana participating in the International Development Design Summit. I helped lead a team of 8 people from 6 countries working on helping small peanut farmers harvest their crops faster. We developed two rounds of prototypes, manufactured using local facilities, and were able to increase harvesting speed 7-fold with a device that costs about $5 to produce.
For a full account of our process and results please take a look at our documentation report: IDDS Groundnut Harvesting Report and Documentation (Download PDF)
Co-creation was a major part of the design process. We came to villages with flexible prototypes and had farmers modify them to their preferences. We learned a lot about their preferences for ergonomics, materials, cost, and performance.
This is a styrofoam mold I carved out to be a sacrificial part of a mold for a cast-aluminum peanut harvesting tool.
Two cast-aluminum handheld tools that I made. They are used by pulling the roots of the peanut plant through the hole in the center. The mature peanuts do not fit through the slots and pop off the plant into a bucket.