Many people in developing countries have cellphones that allow them to watch videos and play interactive games. Now agricultural researchers and health educators are using this technology to help those in the developing world address some of the most challenging issues they face.
The initiative, Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO), delivers educational materials in the form of narrated, animated videos to a global audience, and – perhaps most remarkably – hears back from that audience on ways it can improve its message or add to its repertoire of videos.
Organized by faculty and staff members at the University of Illinois working in collaboration with the Center for African Studies as well as international students and animators, SAWBO offers videos on more than a dozen subjects of importance to global health and agriculture, and the list is growing.
“Our focus is providing new educational content as fast as possible dealing with world problems,” said Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, who founded SAWBO with Julia Bello-Bravo, an assistant director of the Illinois Strategic International Partnership in the office of International Programs and Studies; and Francisco Seufferheld, the SAWBO program coordinator in the department of entomology.
The animations feature characters of universal appeal, demonstrating, for example, how to purify water to stop the spread of cholera, how to use bed nets to prevent mosquito-borne infections, how to kill the insects attacking their crops or to transport grain without spilling it.A primary focus is the prevention of “post-harvest losses,” the waste of food crops as a result of insect infestations, spillage or spoilage. New videos, on how to avoid losing grain during bag or bulk transport, for example, are funded through the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at Illinois.
“It is generally believed that about one-third of the world’s agricultural production doesn’t reach its intended use because of food losses and waste along the food supply chain,” said Steve Sonka, the director of the Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss and a professor emeritus of agricultural strategy at Illinois. “Lack of effective training capabilities in developing nations contributes to that loss, and we believe that the SAWBO approach has tremendous promise in providing such training where it can be effectively employed.”
Future videos will address other threats to agricultural products, showing people, for example, how to make and use clay vessels that extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and other perishable goods. And health-related videos tackle the spread of infectious diseases with easy-to-follow, step-by-step explanations and instructions.
“There are people who don’t know that malaria is produced by the mosquito bite,” Bello-Bravo said. “The videos teach them this basic fact, as well as the different measures they can take to prevent malaria. Getting this knowledge out to people who might otherwise not have access to it can really have a positive impact on their lives.”
New subject matter will include lessons on how to use readily available materials to build sustainable devices, such as a solar oven to cook without wood.
The animations are done in a variety of styles, from realistic, three-dimensional modeling of people, objects and insects to simple 2-D cartoons, Seufferheld said. Some students in media studies and fine arts at Illinois have contributed their talents to the effort. Other videos are produced by professional animators.The team also is branching out to develop applications for cellphones and tablet computers. Their first, an interactive app on what to do if you think you have been exposed to tuberculosis, offers an overview of how a doctor will test for the diseaseand – if tests come back positive – how the doctor will treat it.
The distribution of videos also is a critical issue, Pittendrigh said.
“Our goal is to be a centralized place where people can get materials and deploy them locally,” he said. “We also have developed an online system that allows local educators to download and use the videos in the deployment strategies that they think are best in their local environment.”
Editor’s note: To reach Barry Pittendrigh, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To reach Julia Bello-Bravo, email email@example.com. To reach Francisco Seufferheld, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut
Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences