Q&A with Kimberly Chow, Designmatters at Art Center College of Design
In some parts of the world, public health dilemmas arise from the difficulties citizens have in finding ways to wash their hands. A project at the Art Center College of Design gave rise to one simple, elegant and potentially powerful solution for the clean hands problem, Balde a Balde. We talked with one of the student designers about the solution and how it came to be:
What was the initial inspiration for Balde a Balde?
GiraDora, a human-powered washer and spin dryer, increases the efficiency and improves the experience of hand-washing clothes for people living without access to running water. The user sits on the drum-like appliance and pumps the pedal with the foot, which agitates, cleans, rinses and then spin dries clothes. Local assembly and an innovative business plan with three revenue streams for micro-entrepreneurs provide supplemental income. For under $40, GiraDora’s comfortable and ergonomic operation more than doubles productivity, increases health, instills dignity and affords opportunities to begin breaking the poverty cycle.
Balde a Balde (Spanish for “Bucket to Bucket”) is a portable faucet that delivers water from any container. It makes the convenience and health benefits of running water available to the 46 percent of the global population living without it.
A universal clip attaches the Balde a Balde unit to any existing container. A squeeze of the siphon pump initiates a continuous flow of water. Tapping the spout instantly turns on and off the water, and twisting the valve regulates the volume of water. Balde a Balde maximizes the benefits of clean water to improve health, makes washing hands easy and accessible, and allows users to control exactly where and how much water is used. Most of all, it delivers the experience and dignity of using a tap.
Soap Buddy is wrist-worn soap dispenser for kids that promotes hand washing by making soap more accessible and fun. It makes hand washing fun by extruding paste soap though the bracelet’s faceplate. The interchangeable faceplates become animated when the soap is extruded: Spiderman shoots out a soap web, Hello Kitty’s whiskers grow, or roses grow from a stem.
Credits: Designmatters at Art Center College of Design and Carlos Vides Corporate Sponsor: Innovation Center, Un Techo para Mi País Contact: Elisa Ruffino: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caja del Tesoro is a stand-alone storefront that adjusts to sell a range of products, providing a convenient, safe, and accessible place for communities to purchase necessities. It also features an entrepreneurship program that empowers women in poverty to generate income for their families.
Credits: Designmatters at Art Center College of Design, Seth Weissman and Viirj Kan Corporate Sponsor: Innovation Center, Un Techo para Mi País Contact: Elisa Ruffino: email@example.com
Through the collaboration between Designmatters at Art Center College of Design and Latin American NGO, Un Techo para mi País, The Safe Agua Project addresses the quotidian challenges of safe water access for Chile's poorest families living in slum developments (or campamentos) on the outskirts of Santiago.
The practical challenge for Safe Agua was to design concrete solutions for utilizing, transporting and storing water for families living in campamentos without running water. The extensive two-week field research undertaken by a team of 3 lead faculty and a multidisciplinary team of 12 students, became paramount in gaining a richer understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent to the project. This immersion in Chile allowed the students and faculty to gain experience with the communities and make personal emotional connections. Throughout the project the U.S.-based team continued to validate their design process through close contact with Chilean partners and the community of end users.
Safe Agua prototypes have been successfully field-tested with the families of the campamentos.. The Innovation team of Un Techo is currently working with government and corporate partners to scale and distribute these solutions across Chile.
Viewed as an example for the execution of socially driven design principles, The Safe Agua Project demonstrates the far-reaching potential for specifically tailored design research methodologies, collaborative processes, and creative solutions to achieve further relevant successes globally.