Innovation in business

Mobile infrastructure revolutionized by new start-up in Chile

A group of U.S. engineers with seed capital from StartUp Chile have developed a unique way to lay pipelines at record speeds and low cost.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 Category: Business
The TOHL mobile infrastructure has widespread humanitarian and industrial implications. Photo courte The TOHL mobile infrastructure has widespread humanitarian and industrial implications. Photo courtesy of TOHL / Facebook.

Four Georgia Tech students working with seed capital from StartUp Chile have conducted the first successful test of a simple yet ingenious technology that could improve untold numbers of lives.


Everyday in countries around the world, thousands of hours are spent collecting and delivering water to deprived areas with no permanent infrastructure. Not only does the practice place hardships upon communities, it is also inefficient, costly, and environmentally damaging when transport trucks are involved.


But this could all be about to change. Tubing Operations for Humanitarian Logistics (TOHL) has developed a technique whereby a helicopter can lay semipermanent pipe at record speeds and save up to 90 percent of the cost of traditional methods.


“The TOHL technology is very simple, we can’t believe no one has ever done it before,” Ben Cohen, President and Director of Operations at TOHL, said in a documentary on his project. “I don’t think people realise how revolutionary mobile infrastructure is. Think about a world with just landlines, no cell phones. That’s where infrastructure is right now, its permanent. TOHL is changing that.”


A swift and dynamic system, TOHL would be ideal for providing water for forest fire relief, or laying semipermanent pipes for industry uses such as mining.


However, at the heart of the TOHL philosophy is its implications for humanitarian efforts. Both the speed of disaster relief and access to water in underdeveloped parts of the world could all be revolutionized by this new technology.


TOHL worked in tandem with Chilean company Ecocopter to make the project happen, and the venture received US$40,000 in seed money from StartUp Chile.


This is not the first time funding from the initiative has born success. StartUp Chile projects continue to attract worldwide attention from entrepreneurs like Cohen, who quit his job in the U.S. to pursue his dream in Chile.


To help keep the life changing TOHL project moving forward, visit its Kickstarter campaign here

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