Kinkajou Microfilm Projector and Portable Library

Exhibition: Design for the other 90 | January 5, 2012 by

The Kinkajou Projector is a low-cost teaching tool designed to improve and expand access to education by transforming night-time learning environments in rural, non-electrified areas. The project’s mission is to improve adult literacy in rural West Africa, where up to 75% of the adult population is illiterate. Eliminating the need for books, which are expensive and difficult to distribute in places where adult classes are held at night by oil lamps, Kinkajou combines the efficiency of LEDs with the durability and storage capacity of microfilm. The unit is easy to maintain and includes a solar panel for off-grid use. Kinkajou’s primary beneficiaries are the most disadvantaged and hardest to reach individuals: poor, rural women. Literacy contributes decisively to improving a community’s quality of life through improved health and child nutrition. Kinkajou projectors have helped more than 3,000 adults in forty-five rural villages in Mali learn to read.

  • DESIGNERS: Design that Matters, Inc., in collaboration with students and professionals
  • MANUFACTURER: Various contract manufacturers in the New England area
  • United States, 2004
  • 6061-T6 and 6063 aluminum, ABS plastic, polycarbonate or PMMA lenses, acetyl plastic lens barrels, stainless steel screws, glass-epoxy composite circuit board
  • DIMENSIONS: 11” h x 7” w x 3” d (projector), 19.5” h x 15” w x 1” d (solar panel), 10” h x 8.5” w x 3.5” d (battery pack)
  • IN USE IN: Mali; Bangladesh, Benin, India (field tests)


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