Energy & Sustainability
Jock Brandis makes life better with peanuts
fullbellysheller.jpg

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.

6 thoughts on “Jock Brandis makes life better with peanuts

  1. I’m wondering if it’s sort of like an oversized burr grinder? This is MAKE, after all… how does it work? Anybody got info on the internals? The MAKE blog links no longer lead to the so-called “open source design”. Has the source been *closed*?

  2. Now THIS is why I come to this blog. A real solution to a real problem, and a built item that actually does something.

    No performance art here!

    Great post!!

  3. Amen screaminscott! This is REAL. This is important stuff. In fact, the original 2006 article is seriously why I check this blog every day.

    What are you making indeed? What a great question!

    To that end, I would love to see a list of “the world’s problems”. Odds are, not many folks here can cure cancer or Alzeimer’s, but many of us could’ve designed or helped design a peanut sheller IF WE KNEW that it was such a dire problem. I would love to wrap my head around some such social need, and I’m sure many of my Maker compatriots would as well.

    Think about this next time you discuss the next wonderful advance in LED throwies technology.

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