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Jock Brandis saw how people live and decided to make it better. Brandis created the Full Belly Project collaborated with Amy Smith‘s Engineering research group at MIT to develop an innovative and open source design to shell peanuts quickly and effectively.

On a trip to West Africa to help a friend fix a solar-powered drinking water system, Joost (Jock) Brandis came across an even bigger need: a simple, cost-effective peanut sheller to help poor women prepare tough ground nuts for sale. It seemed simple, and Brandis promised to find one back in the U.S. What he didn’t know was that this “holy grail of sustainable agriculture” didn’t exist.

A film lighting director by trade and a handy guy himself, Brandis decided to invent one. His Universal Nut Sheller, built for $28, is now revolutionizing vital cash crops in developing countries by cutting down on labor hours and keeping more money with farmers, who no longer have to take crops miles away to be shelled by an outside source.

Check out the video to find out more.

Two and a half years ago, we featured the full Belly Project’s open source hardware design to bring affordable peanut shelling technology to a hungry world. As a direct result of that post, many people in rural Malawi and other communities do not have to break the shells of their peanuts by hand. The Full Belly Project is a growing movement bringing sustainable and affordable technology to people in great need.

What are you making to solve the world’s problems? Have you used the peanut sheller from the Full Belly Project? Could you work up ways to improve this open source design? Add your ideas in the comments, and add photos and videos to theMake Flickr pool.