A student is hoping to help communication in third world countries by inventing a solar powered radio – made from bamboo.
Innovator Becky Barber, 22, has designed a radio which can be built very cheaply using the canes of the grass plant.
The radio is powered by a small solar panel and is encased in a bamboo frame – which has good sound quality because of the hollow reeds.
Bamboo is found in many poverty stricken areas and Becky says the devices could be made easily and at little cost.
Becky, a design student at Plymouth University, says she hit upon the idea after visiting the island Madagascar.
She believes the radios could help communication with remote villages and establish a cottage industry.
Becky said: ”Bamboo is an amazing material – it has many of the properties of a hardwood but takes a fraction of the time to grow.
”And because of its natural structure, it produces a fantastic sonorous quality.
”If this takes off we could establish workshops in the country, provide good salaries, and put the means of production into the hands of local people.
”The idea is that by using sustainable and naturally occurring resources in the construction of the radios, we can provide jobs and opportunities.”
University Professor Roberto Fraquelli, added: ”Her vision is powerfully simple – to raise aspirations and the standards of living.”