DIY: An Innovative Movement

Posted by admin on July 16, 2010 | View Comments

Something that has really caught my eye recently has been Do-It-Yourself culture and how incredibly innovative it is. They are true makers and their innovations—everything from clothing to make-shift inventions to sustainable variations—are just astounding.

What set me on the DIY quest was my lack of air-conditioning during the recent, massive New England heat wave. At some point in my heat-induced delirium (clarity of mind, perhaps?) I decided the best thing to do, rather than attempt to scour the local department stores fighting over the last AC units that were no doubt not very energy efficient, was to fashion my own air conditioning that was more cost effective to run. And so my search for designs began—which, thanks to Instructables, there are step-by-step DIY instructions for these awesome inventions. There were fancy ones that were definitely out of my skills to build (or build within the wanted-it-yesterday timeframe). And then there were simpler ones, but immediately I worried about structural integrity, materials, and also, cutting plastic by myself with a knife. A key point I’ve found while innovating is to remember your limitations while keeping design freedom. Innovations that can never be brought to fruition are great experiments, but they don’t get the job done.

I ended up going the cheapest and easiest route: Using the window fan I already had, I put a towel down over the bookcase in front of it, and put a large bag of ice in a cake pan. Simple, low-tech, and old-fashioned: air conditioning for the tune of $1.79 to buy a bag of ice. The next day, I froze a large block of ice in another cake pan to completely revert to using only what I already owned and had access to. Some friends suggested to boost the cooling power of my AC with salt—I was skeptical, but it seemed to work. Another key point of innovation I found: caution is okay, but don’t be afraid to experiment. It might just turn out to be the answer you were looking for!

What have you innovated lately?


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