Shreyans is a multidisciplinary designer whose work spans from health to technology and human computer interaction. He is equipped with meaningful experience in designing digital interfaces for companies as well as mass users through the App Store.
His undergraduate background in electrical engineering, environmental and space science, has given him an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. His natural creativeness and desire to apply engineering and science to problems, through user centered design, has drawn him to industrial design.
Shreyans' design process is being shaped by his time at the Rhode Island School of Design where he is pursuing a Masters in Industrial Design.
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Probing the Pervasiveness of Diarrhea among Children of rural India
Diarrhea is one of the leading health problems in India, having life threatening effects on children under the age of 6. In India, the disease accounts for 98,000 children's lives each year. Unlike in more developed countries where diarrhea is treatable with over-the-counter medicines, India's healthcare system falls short of providing basic care.
Only 2% of India's doctors work in rural areas that account for 68% of the country's population. Public clinics and hospitals in rural places lack essential medical facilities, and access to medical products and services is limited. Due to a lack of public health insurance, India carries the highest out-of-pocket spending, for medical purposes, among developing nations. Moreover, the risk of diarrhea is hightened due to ignorance of health and hygiene.
This project was aimed at researching and developing designs to help alleviate this enduring health problem. Ideas were developed through the lens of child-centered and culturally relevant design.
One of the notable precedents, aiming to mitigate the spread of diarrhea in rural India, is the setting up of sewer systems and health data analytics by the Gates Foundation and Indian Government. In addition, the government, in cooperation with The World Bank, has initiated a project to build a number of public toilets in rural areas. Nevertheless, these programs are capital intensive and require policy interventions as well as time to initiate. In spite of carrying out some of these efforts, the needle on the lives lost due to diarrhea has not changed.
Outside of these precedents, no preventative solutions like consumer level products or services exist. In the following section I generated designs that are consumer centric and culturally relevant.
designs & prototypes
The above experimental device is a wrist strapped hand sanitizer for use in rural areas of India where water for sanitation and personal hygiene is not available. For these places, hand sanitization solution is one of the best alternatives to water. The device aims to test the assumption that wearability might lead to its greater use and thereby reduce risk of contracting infectious agents.
Partnering with schools to distribute these devices to children, and teach them about health and hygiene may significantly help in achieving the goal. The sketches and prototypes displayed above were designed with children and the classroom environment in mind. Aspects of usability and delight were key in making meaningful designs.
I plan to take this work forward by observing how children perceive and use this device. On improving it, I hope to collaborate with NGOs and rural schools to observe how children in rural India would use this device.
Svachh is a child centered and culturally relevant communal hand sanitizer for use in rural schools of India. In these places, water for sanitation and personal hygiene may not be available. Therefore, hand sanitization solution is one of the best alternatives to water. Presently, hand sanitizers are hardly used in India. Moreover, current hand sanitizers appear foreign and unapproachable.
For this prototype, I aimed to design a device that is culturally relevant (intuitive about its function) and delightful for children to use. Svachh is made of locally sourced clay, which is famously used to make earthen pots. Therefore, this prototype may instinctively appear to be a container. It's shape, size and color hope to make it desireable to interact with and use. Children would simply press on it to dispense the solution.
Similar to the systems design of the experimental device, partnering with NGOs and rural schools to distribute and maintain this device, as well as teaching children about health and hygiene may meaningfully support the project.