Monday, May 3, 2010

MedicPouch - Personal Medical Administration Kit

The design brief for this project “Designing for Disaster” was to find solutions to improve the lives of people who were affected by disasters. The chosen disaster for my project was on severe floods and the event that I selected to explore was on the 2008 Bihar Floods.

Problem Situation
One of the major problems that I discovered in my research was that the poor health care administration system in flood relief camps. Flood victims especially those in rural India, do not have any medical documents and record of themselves with them or in the government medical database. Thus, this would create problems for the medical staffs attending to them, prolonging the overall consultation time and reducing the efficiency of the medical response. If this problem was to be multiplied by the thousands of patients seeking medical attention, it would cause a significant delay in medical service and it may cause people who are in critical condition to die. This is supported by a blog post of a first hand report on the situation in Bihar flood relief camps by Randeep, where he asserted that “the bottleneck in health care administration” is one of the major problems facing in flood relief camps. He also described about the “paper-handling” situation seen in flood relief camps and asserted that “the Medicine center many times gave no bills and even if they did, there was neither a date nor name. Every time, the doctor at the hospital used to write a prescription on a 2"x2" torn piece of paper and they were asked to purchase the medicines from a private chemist.” Thus, it also leads to a rise of insensitivity and illegal medical practices from the medical staffs.

‘MedicPouch’ is a personal medical administration kit aimed to solve poor health care administration problems faced in flood relief camps like those in the 2008 Bahir Floods. It contains a personal medical record booklet, health educational materials and storage space for medicines and its owner’s personal items. It is designed to ensure proper and accurate recordings of a patient's consultation, its diagnosis, treatment and medications given, which can be quickly reference back for subsequent visits to the doctor. 'MedicPouch' is aimed at reducing the overall waiting time for patient consultation and increase efficiency for medical response. Shorter waiting time means more patients consultation and more lives save. It also helps to reduce patients' anxiety and increases the doctor's confidence in giving the right treatments. It is also to promote a more ethical, personal and proactive approach to the overall healthcare system. With proper and legal documentations of medical services given to the patients, doctors will be discouraged from committing illegal medical practice. Moreover, by possessing individual's personal medical records will also inform and engage them about their own medical health.

'MedicPouch' has a four-fold seal cover that provides a water-proof and secure enclosure for its contents. Basically, the user will have to join the internal Velcro straps together, close the pouch, fold down the top lips of the pouch four times and join the front and rear Velcro straps together. Ample space are designed at the lips and the front folded flap of the pouch for easy opening and closing of the pouch. The pouch design is made from a simple rectangular cut and layered with its flap, allowing for minimum material wastage. The structure of the design allows it to be flat and slim where its sides are folded inside like a paper lunch bag that allows it to be flat-packed and light for a more efficient and greener transportation. The shoulder strap are also made to be adjustable by altering to the intended length with the Velcro strap on it. The extra loop at the sides of the pouch also allows more than one bag to be attached onto a single shoulder strap. Thus, It will allow mothers to carry their children pouches with them. The design also allows the user to be emotionally attached to the product, as the user depends on it to keep its personal medical records, medications and personal items. Thus, this will help minimizes product waste.

Material and Technology used
It is made from recycled tarpaulins from old billboards, clear polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Velcro straps and nylon straps .The main manufacturing process used would be machine sewing for connecting the various parts of the pouch together. The manufacture of the personal medical record booklet will consists of printing and bookbinding. Companies could get involved in this product by donating their used billboards and banners, instead of paying for its waste disposal cost, while simultaneously doing their part of disaster aid relief. Recycled tarpaulin also serves as a basis to differentiate and customize each pouch for a unique look for easy identification. It is chosen also for its strong, durable, flexible and waterproof features that will help the product last longer. Recycled tarpaulin is chosen because of it opaqueness that blocks sunlight from reaching the medication stored in the pouch. Clear PVC was chosen for the window of the pouch to allow the user to identify their pouches by the cover of their personal medical record booklet through the window of the pouch. The covers of the booklet also comes in four different colors to further customize each pouch to its user. Velcro strap was chosen instead of the plastic buckets, was because of its light weight, flatness and durability, which is essential for the design.

Overall, the materials chosen were to simplify the total amount and variety of material and processes for easier dis-assembly and recyclability at the end of the product's life. Even though it is design for dis-assembly, the product's design and material choices are aimed for a 5 – 10 years life span or longer. The manufacturing process was also simplify to avoid unnecessary transportation of parts for assembly and aimed to concentrate production at a single location.

'MedicPouch' will help improve the lives of flood victims in receiving healthcare services in their flood relief camps by providing a more systematic and efficient process of handling healthcare administration that will help reduce patients' anxiety from waiting, increase medical staffs' confidence and productivity levels in providing quality medical services and avoid destroying unnecessary lives due to poor healthcare administration system and save lives. 'MedicPouch' will also allow individuals to be aware and in control of their own personal medical health and value the importance of keeping a personal medical record.

Randeep's first hand report on Bihar's Flood Relief Camps' situation

Here are my posters of my design.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Condom Tin Design Competition

 Hi all, 

Vote for my condom tin design if you like it.
Just click on the link, register and vote.


To vote for this design, click on this link 

 To vote for this design, click on this link 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Athens Bench Mark Design Competition

Hey all,

These are two of my designs that I did for the Athens Bench Mark Design Competition. Vote for them if you like them. Thanks.

Tree Spheres

'Tree spheres' is a simple, modern,  geometric and ecological bench for the future chaotic, busy and urban city, which is made by planting moss into slots in the slip casted concrete hollow spheres that will gradually cover the entire sphere.  The soft spherical shape of the bench contrasts with the hard angular buildings in the city. Playing on the idea of a concrete jungle and the juxtaposition of different elements, the design encourages its users to stop and think about their lives. The benches will be bolted into the ground by steel bolts and comes in three different diameters of 300mm, 500mm and 700mm. The 300mm sphere can be used as a seat for kids or a stool for people who wants to retie their shoelaces. The 500mm sphere can be used as a normal bench, while the 700mm sphere is used as more of a short resting bench.


'anneaux' is a structural bench for the future city of Athens. Its contemporary, symmetrical and geometrical designs compliments the historical and angular elements of the city. The inspiration comes from the rings of the Olympics symbols, which is a part of Greece's history. I was also interested in the connection of the rings and how it communicates about connection of people and their environment.  Moreover, I was intrigued to create a simple object that is able to communicates complex and different meanings to everyone.  Made from cold and reflective material of steel, and the warm and nostalgic material of teak, 'anneaux' plays on the juxtaposition of different aspects of the design. The bench is secured by bolting it down with the ground with two steel bolts. The seat is secured to the two side metal frames by screwing them together.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Task 4 : Waste = Food

Waste = Food, a documentary by Braungart and McDonough.

This documentary has enlighten me the dangers of waste if our human population was to continue to live our lifestyles like we still did 50 years ago. Ideals of endless landfills and natural resources to feed our human's desires of consumerism and wealth, but the fact is that we are not able to do so. Even if we are not reacting to this sickening problem that is happening to us, nature has and is responding back with increasing water levels, natural disasters and rise in global temperature. The global waste issue is a real problem and we have to respond back fast if not the extinction of the human race is inevitable. Michael Braungart and William McDonough propose the concept of the cradle to cradle protocol that is to be applied in our design process and business models. I feel that it is time to start rethinking about each step in our design process and analyze its social, ecological and economical problems, and update them according to our constant evolving world.

The idea of waste has always been masked out as it was not a primary concern compared to the product's function and form. However, the cradle to cradle protocol has flipped the design process and invited us to begin thinking from the end of the product's life-cycle. Designing for dis-assembly as a part of the initial thought in the design process allows the designers to think how the product can be reused, recycled and reincarnate as after it reaches its end. Currently used products are just disposed of in landfills or recycled and the life of the product just ends there. Even if we were to recycle them, like what McDonough said, “we do not really recycle products, we down-cycle products,” which basically means that the product is reduced in quality when they are recycled to create products of even lower quality. The ideal of the recycling in the future will to be recycle the product to be of similar quality or up-cycle them to be of higher quality, thus eliminating the idea of waste. Braungart supports by stating the in the future “we (can) celebrate abundance, we can throw things away, we can litter, we can enjoy littering and we can use material back into cycles.” I believe that if the future of waste was to be as how Braungart and McDonough had describe in the documentary, the idea of producing waste in the future will be pleasant and guiltless. The more we throw, the more we save.

However for change to happen realistically in the modern world, it will only happen if the economy allows it. As McDonough asserts, “ the fundamental transformation will actually occur because of economical forces, it will not because of some moral issues or some technical revelation,” which I find to be true. It is because the main shareholders in the modern world are the economists and it is our job to influence them to adopt a more ecological approach with economical mindset. At the end of the day, we all count the profits earned for any business and if it does not add up, it will be out. However showing that being ecological can helps save money and creates profits, it offers economists an option to invest money into the green idea. It is generally what we all want, to earn money and save the planet. Timothy O'Brien supports by saying that “ if you think about it (cradle to cradle protocol) in the design stage, you can come out with environmental programs that actually saves you (the company) money, they do not cost you money.” Take the case of the green roof of Ford Motor Company.

The challenge now for designers is to translate the green designs intentions with a business mentality that allow economists to adopt the ideas to save our planet while earning profits. We can start by evaluating all the material used in a product, designing it for easy and fast dis-assembly, making sure that the materials used are safe for man and animal and the ability to be reuse in the biosphere and techno-sphere. I will like to end by quoting from McDonough that “ the goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power – economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed. Period.”

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Task 5 : Design for Life

Phillips Starck's Design for Life

In this television series, Phillips Starck wanted the to convey to the designers on the show I found were three lessons. They are to create objects with meanings, to create sustainable and useful products and about perseverance and passion in design. I feel that these are important lessons to learn as it reminds us designers to re-look, rethink, reconsider and redesign the products all around us and the impacts it create by our design decisions we made in the design process. Adam Buxton, the narrator of this television series, supports this by saying that Stark wants the designers “to question everything about product design and to learn how design decisions now will affect all of our lives in the future.” Starck asserts that “now I(he) expects from the young people new ideas, because we do not need to redo, redo and redo.” The current consumer market is overloaded with products, some are good, some are bad and then with some that are terrible and wasteful. Creating wasteful products will just only contribute to the ever increasing amount of landfills and pollution in the world. Moreover, it is impossible to sustain our current lifestyle that requires three and more planets compare to a single planet that we live in now.

Creating object with meanings is definitely not an easy task. Other than fulfilling the function and form of the product, designers should also look into the life cycle of the product, the story of its and its communication with its end users. Stark explains that “we are not speaking about the product, we are speaking about what is behind the product and the interaction with the product.” Starks wants designers to think deeper into the product design. For instance, considering the manufacturing process, the material selection, the transportation of the product and the packaging and identity of the product. It is like giving birth to a baby, giving it life into this world, giving him a name, putting clothes on him, thinking about the food he is going to eats, deciding on which school he will study at and so on. In order to create a meaningful and useful product, designers need to consider these design decisions in the design process. Stark also describe his ideals in a philosophical way by saying that “ you do not make good design if you think about it, you make good design if you speak about life, sex, flesh and sweat.” It is about creating designs that is invisible to the users and how will the product blend and be a part in the user's life. If the users have to think about the product in order to use it, it is a bad design as it means that the design was not entirely well thought out and thus creating another wasteful product and not considering the psychological, social and physical pleasures of the product.

Sustainability was another point that Stark asserted throughout the series. In creating a sustainable product, designers have to consider the whole design process like the manufacturing and transportation, and finding a more ecological and sustainable method. In discussing about the cheap price of a mountain bicycle in one of the series, Stark states that the only reason that it is made to be so affordable is because of human slavery where people are only paid one dollar for an entire day of work. If we as designers ignore and allow such an action to occur, we are also a culprit in this inhumanely act. The transportation method used also plays a great deal to the environment impacts it creates. The carbon emission that the airplanes, ships, truck and trains produce will also results in environmental consequences and as designers we are equally guilty of this ecological crime. However, I felt that Stark is an oxymoron when he said that it is not in this design philosophy to follow trends and styles, when in actual fact, he is aiming towards being more ecological. Furthermore, the aim of this competition was to rediscover another English style since Terrence Conran from the 1960s in this group of young designers, which greatly contrasts Stark's beliefs of not following design styles.

Throughout the series, I have also learned about having perseverance and passion in one's work in order to be successful. Seeing how the last two finalists endure and push towards the completion of their designs, reminded me now as a industrial design student and designer in the future to continue to be passionate and determine in my profession and works, for there will be success in the future especially now when I am doing my design studio projects. No matter how big or small the success is at the end of the project, it is up to me to decide and reflect upon the journey made and the lessons learned. I would like to end with a quote from Stark, “ If you are lucky enough to have a good idea, you have a duty to share it with the maximum of people.”

Task 6 : The Story of Cap & Trade


The Story of Cap and Trade

Industrial designers play a critical role in the climate change problem and solution. We are the ones that
design the products that our clients - the economists – wants whose only concern is about the profits
earned and not much so for environment or the people. For instance when the client request for a
product variation of the old existing one or a product extension for their company's product line, we as
industrial designers will just obey them and fulfill their request. This is because we are doing this as a
profession and a job that pays our bills and support ourselves and families like every other normal
human beings in the modern world. Thus, we are required to design to satisfy our client's wishes even
of it harms the environment or the people. Money rules the modern world and everything around cost
us costs money, there is not much we can do about it.

However, I feel that this ideology should change we as industrial designers are the agents of change. As
Annie Leonard asserts in the documentary, she said that “ the factories that makes all of our stuffs, the
ships and trucks that carries it all around the world, our cars and buildings and appliances and just
about everything” contributes to climate change, we have power to change for the better. Most of the
climate change problems derive the product production process and industrial designers are involved
heavily in that process. Thus, I believed that we should reflect on our past mistakes and repent for them
by making significant contribution towards a sustainable ecological economy.

Firstly, industrial designers should contemplate about the ecological problems in our design process
and alter them to be more sustainable. Annie Leonard explains that “since we are in the richest
countries that releases the most carbon for centuries and lived a pretty comfortable lifestyle in the
process, don't we have a responsibly to help those who are most harmed ?” To acknowledge one's
mistakes and to recognize its impact are steps for change. We can begin by rethinking every design
decision that we make in the design process and to reconsider its environmental implications. For
example, we can start by reducing the number of parts in a product to reduce waste or change the
material and manufacturing process to another that is more ecological. Next, industrial designers can
help to influence our clients' mindset in our discussion with them and ask them to reevaluate the
environmental consequences in their businesses and its short term benefits, and enlighten them on the
long term benefits of an ecological approach. Annie Leonard states that it is better to “talk to them (as)
they probably want a future that is safe from climate change too.” As industrial designers, we are
consultants hired by our clients and it is our responsibly and job to educate them in the overall situation
that their businesses will create.

As industrial designers who design products in our daily lives, we are the culprits in the evil scam that
the economists have created for profits. Thus, I feel that it is time for us to reflect and repent our sins to
the environment and change our ideology and lifestyles to sustain our planet and to ensure the survival
of the human race. As Annie Leonard conclude in the documentary, “ it wouldn't be easy, but it is time
we dream bigger. It is time to design a climate change solution that will really work.”