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Friday, May 3, 2013

Designing For People Living on Less Than $4 Per Day

Vin Narayan of ReMotion makes adjustments to a patient's prosthetic
The keynote speaker at the University of Minnesota's 13th annual "Structures for Inclusion" conference  last month was Krista Donaldson, PhD, CEO of D-Rev (Design Revolution). Donaldson's company has been working on designing for people living on less than $4 per day, and she showed a couple of her latest projects during her presentation.

Both of the D-Rev products that Donaldson displayed are now available. Brilliance, a phototherapy device that helps treat jaundice in infants, uses long-lasting LEDs and costs just $400—half the price of the cheapest comparable device and a tenth of the cost of the device in industrialized areas. Stanford School of Medicine estimates that every year, over six mission babies with severe jaundice go without treatment.

The second product mentioned is called the JaipurKnee, an artificial knee joint designed for amputees. 80 percent of the world's amputees can't afford modern prosthetics—that's out of a total 30 million people that need aid from mobility devices. This simple yet durable piece enables a high range of motion, uses simple design and is rated to last for three to five years.

Both products are intended to help improve health conditions in high-need areas of the world. As we in the creative industry do our work it's worth taking a pause to reflect on the work of others in our field to celebrate their accomplishments. As we know, the outcome of a project is often guided by the initial creative brief that states the goals, budget and timeline. We applaud the work of the aforementioned designers for seeing a laudable goal, a small budget an immediate deadline and rising to the occasion.

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