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Pedal-Powered Abrasive Grain Mill

Made in collaboration with David Anderson and Shavi Sukesh, with help from MIT D-Lab and Global Cycle Solutions.

Ugali, one of the staples of the Tanzanian diet, requires incredibly fine maize flour, which means that Tanzanian women in areas without electricity typically have to spend long hours beating maize with a mortar and pestle. There are hand-powered and pedal-powered grain mills on the market, but they're prohibitively expensive. This was an attempt to make a cheaper pedal-powered mill by abrading the maize rather than grinding it. So far it has not been 100% successful: GCS and D-Lab continued to investigate the technology, but no one has been able to get the throughput high enough to make the mill a worthwhile investment for most rural Tanzanians.

Adding an ad-hoc wobbly coupling unit to the belt drive for testing.


Pouring maize into the hopper.


David tests out the drive system.


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