5 More Inspiring Social Designs
Here we are again with more social designs that innovate, intrigue and inspire.
30th October 2017 - Design for Need , Social Design, Projects
By Finn Brownbill
Fortunately, despite the doom and gloom of the majority of the headlines in the news, there is so much innovative and caring work being done all over the world to improve the lives of those in poverty. In our 5 Inspiring Social Designs article, we introduced you to a range of inventions which did achieved precisely this. However, there were plenty more we wanted to bring to your attention, which we simply could not fit into one article. Therefore, here we are again, with yet another article introducing you to ‘5 More Inspiring Social Designs’. Enjoy!
Woobi Play by Lars Larsen
Woobi Play is wonderfully playful, yet effective design which truly takes its target market into account, that being ‘children’. Pollution is scary enough as it is for the average person, but explaining to children that there's something invisible in the air that can hurt you can be difficult. In their world, it could be seen as a deadly ghostly spirit out to get you. And then you put an awkward suffocating mask on their face to ‘protect’ them, invading their space, which also certainly does not look friendly. But now with Kilo studio’s design, the Woobi Play is a colourful simple mask resembling the toys they already know and love. The mask succeeds in filtering at least 95% of airborne particulate matter and comes with an educational manual encouraging the children to put the parts together like building blocks to create their personalised product. Like lego, meccano or even minecraft, children want to let their imagination soar and by doing so they become kings and queens of their own universe. The Woobi Play fits this model perfectly, giving them personal control and an important understanding over their own safety.
Moser Lamp by Alfredo Moser
Not all social designs need to be mass produced and sold for retail. Some of the best social designs are the simplest and most humble personal inventions. Alfredo Moser’s invention certainly has not made him rich or a established himself as a engineer-CEO of a massive International Development enterprise, but it has brought him pride. The Moser Lamp consists of the widely available 2 litre water bottle filled with a few drops of bleach in it, then you drill it into the ceiling and place it in the gap. The room is now illuminated during the day as the sun shines down on to the top of the bottle. This means in communities where electricity and lighting is a rarity, the Moser Lamp can be used to light up workspaces, schools and homes alike, supporting the lives of many. The genius of this design lies in its simplicity, as mentioned in our previous ‘Social design’ articles (attach link), there is no need to overcomplicate a method which produces the desired solution. Since its inception, the design has spread from Brazil all the way to the Philippines where Moser lamps have now been fitted in 140,000 homes.
Shoethatgrows by Kenton Lee
Again, this product is designed for the target market who are our future; ‘children’. However, unlike Woobi Play this sustainable invention goes on your feet, not your head. A pair of shoes is something that people in fortunate parts of the world often take for granted. For many, shoes is simply a fashion choice, for others just one pair of shoes can dramatically improve their health and socio-economic livelihoods. The problem with a lot of aid being sent, in regard to clothing is that it isn’t always sustainable, certainly when it comes to shoes. Once the child’s feet grow, their donated shoes are now useless, leaving the child vulnerable to deadly soil-transmitted diseases. However, with The Shoe That Grows, well, the clue is in the name… the adjustable straps allow the shoe to expand to five sizes, and the long-lasting materials of compressed rubber and leather used ensures it also lasts five years. According to The Shoe That Grows, “There are over 300 million children who do not have shoes. And countless more with shoes that do not fit.” The global reach of this invention is incredible, and so with every step, they are getting closer and closer to fixing this momentous problem.
Flo by Mariko Higaki Iwai
Menstrual bleeding is something that all women have to deal with. For those in poverty, without access to suitable sanitary products there are countless problems which make their lives so difficult. These can range from a lack of sanitation causing disease, to a lack of social understanding and support leading to anxiety and mental health issues, or even the creation of a social stigma causing girls to drop out of schools without sufficient education and job prospects leading to gender inequality. ‘Flo’ was created to prevent these issues from arising. It is a portable kit which means women can wash, dry and then store their reusable pads. The materials used are robust and the amount of detergent needed to clean the pads is minimised. This is a much cleaner, simpler and quicker way to deal with these needs allowing the user to be comfortable and confident, thus allowing more time to pursue their personal goals.
Peepoo by Anders Wilhelmson
As mentioned in our WASH + Social Design article, we are heavily opposed to the ‘flying toilet’ problem which has horrifically lead to the spread of disease, blocked drainage systems and overall a pretty crap practice which choses a short-term fix over a long-term solution. The ‘Peepoo’ can be, when used correctly, a much better alternative to the ‘flying toilet’. Due to its biodegradable nature, after use it can be collected and buried in the soil and used as fertiliser. Thus boosted the agricultural infrastructure of the local community. Not only does that improve the sanitation problem, which is ever present in slums, it additionally helps local farmers. However, this is only possible if the infrastructure is in place to deal run the service of collection, ensuring the peepoos do not accumulate elsewhere in massive pile-ups. Thankfully, the bag is cheap and does not need water for the design to work, meaning communities without water sources can easily use it.
A co-founder of a sustainable design company without any design experience. Sounds ideal right? Hey ho, that’s not why I’m here. I’m the chief editor of the blog and I do plenty more (non-design related) jobs too.