Engineering & Humanity Week In The News

Green Source DFW

Harvey Lacey builds a house using Ubuntu bricks made of recycled plastic

KDAF-TV (Ch. 33-Dallas)

Green Team SMU

The Dallas Morning News

New Businesses Should Be  Ready for Plan B

Voice of America

Refugee Camp Springs Up on US University Campus

AOL News

Segway Inventor Dean Kamen Recieves Humanitarian Award

KERA-90.1 FM (NPR-Dallas)

SMU Students Live In Their Refugee Huts

WFAA-TV (ABC-Dallas)

Dallas Group Helping Children Get Clean Water

The Dallas Morning News

SMU Honors A True Visionary

Segway Inventor To Receive Humanitarian Award in Dallas

Hunt Institute to Build Third World Village on SMU Campus

As SMU Marks 100 Years, It's Aiming For The Top Tier (April 10 photo)

The Dallas Observer

At SMU’s Living Village, Harvey Lacey Demos A House Built One Plastic Bag At A Time

What Can You Do With An Old Shipping Container? Turn It Into The EandH Commissary

KXAS-TV (NBC-Dallas)

SMU Students Build 'Refugee Camp' on Campus

The New York Times

Ethical Engineering-No Oxymoron

SMU Daily Campus

Internationalizing SMU

Engineering and Humanity Week brings ideas, innovation to solve third world problems

Texas inventor turns trash into innovative solution

Audio Slideshow: Engineering and Humanity Week Brings Living Village To Life

The Living Village: A Video Tour

Sustainable Village Comes  To Life Through Engineering

Video: SMU students participate in "The Living Village"

SMU Daily Mustang

Engineering and Humanity Week at SMU: Students Take on a Third-World Experience


Inventor Dean Kamen To Receive Inaugural Hunt Institute Visionary Award  


Gensler Dallas: Curator of The Living Village

Living Village Blog

SMU Students: Tell Us Your Living Living Village Adventure On The SMU Adventures Blog

The Living Village at Engineering & Humanity Week 2011


During Engineering & Humanity Week 2011, The Living Village will be home to students who will live, cook their meals and sleep in temporary shelters designed to house people displaced by war and natural disasters. Students, faculty and local members of the community will build the village on the SMU campus lawn, showing casing a variety of shelter technologies. These technologies include:


Designed for relief housing, The HabiHut creates the framework for setting up off the grid villages where they are needed most. With its ability to house many different functions from waste management to water solutions, the HabiHut's modular design helps provide the most basic functions of life.

ShelterBox Tent

A product of the international relief organization ShelterBox, the tent is one component of the green plastic footlocker-style ShelterBox that will supply an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and lifesaving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless from a natural disaster.


The UNHCR Tunnel Tent is a light weight emergency tent made of polyester fabric. The tent, which comes in a carrying bag, sits on a plastic ground sheet. The tent comes with fiberglass poles, iron pegs, pins and a hammer. The tent is water and rot proof. 


Cost competitive with similarly-sized refugee tents, the rigid, single-walled LiteYurt is manufactured from polypropylene plastic and will last years if properly maintained. The shelter is easy to assemble without tools, ladders, scaffolding or power and comes with a textless "pictures-only"  assembly manual.


Using the same technology as the single-walled LiteYurt, the double-walled TekYurt can be insulated with any locally available biomass to provide true four-season shelter.  With locking doors and windows it also provides important physical and psychological security.  Both shelters can link to form multi-room shelters.


The Hexayurt is a simplified disaster relief shelter design. It is based on a geodesic geometry adapted to construction from standard 4x8 foot sheets of factory made construction material. It resembles a panel yurt, hence the name.

Ubuntu Blox / Plastic Block House

Inspired by Ronald Omyonga, a Texas inventor is working on a low-cost housing model using bales of recycled plastic. Ubuntu Blox capitalizes on the African word Ubuntu, meaning an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on for caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation. 

Monolithic EcoShell

Monolithic EcoShells are strong structures that can withstand natural disasters, fire, termites and rot. In underdeveloped areas with hot climates, EcoShells make affordable, low maintenance, sturdy housing.

CalEarth Sandbag Shelter

Requiring no machinery and minimal training, CalEarth’s Sandbag Shelters offer a building system ideally suited to providing earthquake-resistant emergency shelter. Easily adaptable to local materials, needs and circumstances, the timber-free arches, domes and vaults have been successfully transferred to over twenty countries across the world.


Engineering for humanity: Technologies on display in The Living Village


Following are brief descriptions of innovative technologies in use at The Living Village during Engineering & Humanity Week 2011:

Water Bobble

The Water Bobble is a water bottle made of recycled plastic with a carbon filter. Designer Karim Rashid has produced a functional, popular bottle in six fashion colors. The carbon filter meets or exceeds NSF International Standard 42, the standard that governs public and private drinking water. The filter should be replaced every two months or after filtering around 40 gallons of water.

PUR water purification tablets

Millions of people across the world lack access to clean drinking water every day. That’s why PUR, in alliance with the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, has helped educate people on the importance of clean water and distributed PUR water purification packets that easily turns contaminated H2O into safe, drinkable water.

PermaNet malaria nets

PermaNet® technology combats malaria as well as many of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as Dengue, Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis) in African, Asian as well as South and Central American countries. The nets and curtains may be washed without any loss in the effectiveness in killing mosquitoes and without requiring re-treatment during its specified lifetime.

LifeStraw portable water filter

LifeStraw® is a portable water filter that effectively removes all bacteria and parasites responsible for causing common diarrhoeal diseases. LifeStraw® requires no electrical power or spare parts and can be carried around for easy access to safe and clean water.

Solar Electric Light Fund

SELF brings solar power to settlement households, clinics, schools and micro-enterprises in the developing world. Solar electrification projects are chosen by the people in rural communities as full participants, acting on their own behalf. The villagers determine priorities as well as the project scope.

ToughStuff products

ToughStuff's range of affordable solar products offers an enduring way to lift people out of poverty, while preserving the planet's resources for future generations. ToughStuff provides affordable energy to the 1.6 billion people who do not have access to electricity.  Products, such as solar panels and rechargeable battery packs, typically replace harmful alternatives, creating social and environmental benefits.

d.light S10

An affordable high-quality solar lantern, the d.light S10 is a replacement for kerosene lanterns in the home, workplace, or on the go. d.light S10 provides up to 8 hours of light on a full battery and uses highly efficient LEDs. It is 3-5 times brighter than a kerosene lantern and provides 360-degree illumination.


Capable of charging from a variety of inputs, the ReadySet power system provides flexibility for users. The power charge for ReadySet may be generated from the Fenix Velo bicycle generator, a solar panel, or from the grid using a wall adapter for backup power. The ReadySet also has two cigar lighter adapter ports to power lights, radios and other applications, as well as two USB ports capable of charging mobile phones at twice the efficiency of the average car charger adapter.


Luke Filose, Vice President of Business Development at Fenix International, a provider of affordable renewable energy systems in frontier markets, will demo ReadySet during E&H Week. Luke has extensive experience marketing energy solutions at the base of the pyramid (BoP), both with Fenix and previously selling energy-efficient cookstoves and working with entrepreneurs in more than ten African countries. Luke has also worked with Intel Corporation on its emerging markets and corporate affairs teams and managed programs for several NGOs working in Africa. Luke earned a BA and MBA, both from UC Berkeley.



The rocket stove was originally developed for cooking purposes in which a relatively small amount of heat was required on a continuous basis. Stoves can be constructed from brick, old tin cans, steel or be purchased. Rocket Stoves are found more commonly in the third world countries where wood fuel sources are more scarce, but it has been introduced in the United States in the recent years.

The Vario

The Vario water filtration system technology consists of three filter levels: a high-performance glass fiber filter, a ceramic pre-filter that can be adjusted individually according to the cloudiness of the water, and active charcoal for eliminating odors. Up to two litres of drinking water per minute can be processed by the glass fiber and active charcoal filter. The Vario is compatible with most standard outdoor bottles and hydration bladders.

The Revolve

The Revolve™ Tap Water Filter Bottle is a portable water filtration bottle designed for use with municipal tap water. The Tap Water unit filters over 100 gallons of water and removes up to 99.99% of all contaminants found in tap water, including chlorine, heavy metals, industrial pollutants, agricultural runoff, microbial cysts, and trace pharmaceuticals.

Corn water bottle

The Better Water Filter with Corn Resin Bottle instantly filters water as you drink in a bottle that is 100% renewable and sustainable. The eco-friendly corn bottle filters up to 90 refills and then may be returned to the early in commercial compost systems in 80 days. 

Nokero solar light bulb

Bright enough to read by, cook by, study or perform household tasks, the Nokero solar light bulb is brighter than a smart-phone screen on its brightest setting and lasts about four hours on a full charge. Nokero is primarily meant to provide a safe, clean alternative to the fuel lanterns currently used by the 1.6 billion people worldwide who lack reliable access to electricity. It is durable, rainproof, and affordable enough to have practical use to impoverished people around the world who still burn dangerous and polluting kerosene lanterns.

EcoCradle™ natural packing

EcoCradle packaging is biodegradable and home compostable. It’s made from seed husks and mushroom roots. It performs similarly to synthetic foams, but it takes far less energy to produce, is made of natural materials and is eco-friendly.  every step of the way. The material is totally compostable and is cheaper to produce than (polystyrene) foam that ends up in landfills.

GE ZeeWeed 1500

As a pioneer of membrane technology, GE leverages decades of research, development, and operational experience in developing the pressurized ZeeWeed 1500, the newest, most advanced addition to the lineup of UF membrane water treatment solutions. ZeeWeed systems are proven to consistently outperform conventional filtration technology while meeting or exceeding regulatory requirements, regardless of source water quality. Versatile and reliable, the pressurized ZeeWeed 1500 is ideally suited for use in numerous applications, including water treatment, tertiary filtration and pretreatment for brackish and seawater desalination.

Centre for Vision in the Developing World

In collaboration with Dow Corning Corporation, the Centre for Vision in the Developing World is creating new glasses designed for children aged 12-18. The project, which uses next-generation fluid-filled lens self-adjustable glasses, could help young people worldwide see clearly for the first time in their lives.

World Hunger Relief, Inc.

WHRI trains individuals who feel called to service in developing countries and wish to acquire skills in sustainable farming and community development. Interns work and study for one year on the WHRI 40-acre farm in central Texas, followed by an optional three-month experience in a developing country.


Living Village Retail Partners


Akola Project

The Akola Project is one of The Ugandan American Partnership Organization’s (The UAPO) five development initiatives throughout Uganda that empowers over 160 women to uplift their families and communities through income generating crafts. Each woman makes up to $30 a month to meet the basic needs of up to 10 children in her home. 100% of jewelry profits go back to the women and to facilitating The UAPO’s development projects throughout Uganda including the construction of two vocational centers. The UAPO trains the Akola women in jewelry making, facilitates their business on the ground, and creates unique necklace designs that sell in US and Ugandan markets.

Heavenly Treasures

“Our mission is to equip and assist people in developing countries to break the cycle of poverty through their handiwork and creativity.  We focus on handicraft projects that allow the development of a micro enterprise, leading them down the path to self-sufficiency.  These projects are very small enterprises, ranging from one refugee family to a group of village women, all in need of a consistent income. The Heavenly Treasures Network consists of 50+ micro enterprise livelihood projects in 13 countries.  Our goal is to help subsidize existing Livelihood Projects by helping with assistance in business and product development, local marketing strategies, spiritual guidance and international marketing.  100% of the sales proceeds are reinvested back into the livelihood project.”

Worn for Peace

WORN is a socially-conscious business of Fort Worth Catholic Charities. The mission of WORN is to provide refugee women living in the United States a supplemental source of income, empowering them to rise above poverty. Each circle scarf is hand-knit by women who have survived the afflictions of their war-torn and poverty-stricken homelands. 100% of the profits from this project go directly back into the community through Fort Worth Catholic Charities to further equip the women with the necessary skills to become self-sufficient.


Awamaki is a Peruvian non-profit working with impoverished Quechua women weavers to improve their skills and increase their access to market, thereby revitalizing an endangered weaving tradition while affording Quechua women with a reliable source of income. Based in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of Peru, Awamaki runs both a fair trade textiles initiative and a sustainable tourism program, harnessing local tourism and the international marketability of Andean textiles to find a market for this craft in a modernizing global economy.


Ecochicc is produced from natural sustainable resources and recycled materials by artisans worldwide. "We are committed to giving back to all our partnering communities by creating revenue and jobs through the practice of fair trade principles."

The African InKNITiative

Feed a gal a fish and she'll eat for a day...teach a gal to knit and she'll eat for a lifetime! The African inKNITiative features colorful, hand knitted scarves re-cycled out of donated  t-shirts by a group of women living in an internal displacement camp in Kampala, Uganda.  The aim of this  initiative is to bring opportunity and hope to women who have none by providing profitable work where there is none. 


Hope 4 Refugees is a non-profit that serves refugees from Burma in the Dallas area after their resettlement period.  Hope 4 Refugees' vision is to empower refugees through the love of Jesus Christ to become productive members of society.  Assistance is given with translation, transportation, medical/dental care, public schools, job skills, micro-finance and with governmental organizations that help needy families.  The Kli-Kla Market was started to empower refugee women while preserving their culture.  It is a venue which enables these women to sell their handmade items.  The key to self-sufficiency is empowerment.

Mothers for All

The primary objective of Mothers for All is to develop a sustainable model of support for orphans and vulnerable children. Research has shown that any benefits a mother or caregiver receives by way of financial upliftment, education and life skills are immediately passed onto the children in their care .There is no doubt that there have been many obvious benefits for the children in the household, from receiving regular meals to having school clothes and stationery. The less obvious but more powerful benefit has been the sense of hope for the future that now pervades our mothers' households.