SAFE: Design Takes On Risk

Roelf Mulder, Byron Qually, and Etienne Rijkheer of …XYZ Dot Dot Dot Ex Why Zed Design
FPR2 Human Powered Radio
1998

…XYZ Dot Dot Dot Ex Why Zed Design. FPR2 Human Powered Radio. 1998

Roelf Mulder, Byron Qually, and Etienne Rijkheer of …XYZ Dot Dot Dot Ex Why Zed Design
FPR2 Human Powered Radio
1998 Polycarbonate, ABS plastic, nylon, and brass, 7 7/8 x 11 x 7 1/4" (20 x 28 x 18.5 cm). Manufactured by Freeplay Energy Plc., South Africa (1998). Lent by …XYZ Dot Dot Dot Ex Why Zed Design, Ltd. Photo by …XYZ Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

DIRECTOR, GLENN LOWRY: The Freeplay Human Powered Radio is designed for people who have no access to electricity. That’s as much as a fifth of the world’s population. The radio is powered by a solar cell or by turning a handcrank in the back that winds an internal spring.

[SFX: winding in clear, then under next paragraph]

A good winding will keep it playing for a half hour.

Cameron Sinclair is the founder of Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization that provides design services for communities in developing countries.

CAMERON SINCLAIR: I actually bought one of these radios back in 1999, when I was in South Africa looking at a number of projects. In August 2003, New York was hit by a blackout. While most people were worrying about what to do, I simply grabbed the radio and wound it up, and I sat on the stoop of my building and, you know, with coffee in one hand and radio in the other, suddenly a group gathered there was 40, 50 people sitting around this radio.

What's fascinating about this is that here you have a product that was developed for the developing world, but here we are, sitting in the middle of New York City, and there's a group of people listening intently to try and find out information of what's going on.

GLENN LOWRY: The Freeplay Radio was conceived in 1994 by British designer Trevor Bayliss. Two versions are now manufactured in South Africa. Profits from sales of a more elaborate commercial model subsidize free distribution of a simpler nonprofit model in developing countries. Some 300,000 have already been distributed in sub-Saharan Africa.

0:00
15 / 19