Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
The goals of this project are twofold; (1) to provide a comfortable, safe and sanitary examination bed for women who undergo a gynecological examination in rural locations, and (2) increase the portability of bed and treatment. By better integrating these two components we address overarching issues such as resource scarcity and lack of medical infrastructure in rural communities in the developing world.
This design creates a streamline method by which rural medial workers can implement their life saving screening and treatment services. Ultimately, we plan to see this project to fruition, with the creation of a design that can be adapted and applied to other countries experiencing similar barriers to providing health care.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
To date, over 80 women have been examined on various prototypes. Our field testing results revealed that women had a comfortable experience with the bed. Practitioners were similarly impressed by the portability of the structure. As with all new designs, particularly those that function under such stringent parameters, our process is iterative. In terms of application of the design, we are still in the midst of product testing. This includes performing several structure analyses on the current prototype and solidifying a final design that is acceptable for both women and physicians. The next test will occur in Spring 2012 in El Salvador. The purpose of this testing is to ensure that our design is complying with the needs of the community. Testing includes gaining feedback from both practitioners and patients. It is important that our design remain light-weight, portable, and easily assembled, but maintain a high level of user acceptability.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
Create a language agnostic build manual that will accompany an “assembly kit.” This kit will be accompanied by a build manual- with a step-by-step depiction of the construction technique- and a set of brackets that are to be used in the construction of the bed. By the end of 2012 we plan to have at least 20 beds in circulation in El Salvador. By the end of 2013 we will develop a marketing plan for distribution, outlining how to engage with potential stakeholders. We will devise a business model complete with sliding scale that will adjust the price of our product according to what organizations can afford. It is essential that we make our product affordable to all organizations and in some cases this will include providing our product free of cost.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
One component of our design -the brackets that are involved in the folding mechanism- are best made using a C & C plasma cutting system or water jet cutter. Once fabricated, these steel brackets are used as a rubric for the remainder the construction process. Currently these brackets are being fabricated in the design facility at Hampshire College. As the demand for this product increases we will need to find an alternate production facility that can accommodate the scale of this project. Local job shops can be contracted this work but we would also like to look into collaborating or using the facilities of companies that manufacture similar designs like strollers or massage tables.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Completed language-agnostic build manual and 20 “assembly kits” to be distributed within El Salvador.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone