Appropriate technology – Traeger’s pedal radio


I’ve used Question Box in some recent presentations as a example of appropriate technology. I’ve just become aware of this Australian innovation from the early part of the last century – the pedal radio. Invented by Alfred Traeger with the encouragement of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, it overcame the challenge of communication with remote homesteads that lacked a telephone or radio link. Traeger later improved this idea by creating a Morse keyboard.

The pedal radio solved three problems for users in the Australian bush:

  • It didn’t require a battery;
  • It could be operated by one person; and
  • With the Morse keyboard, it didn’t require knowledge of Morse code to send a message