Center for Frugal Innovation in Africa (collaboration among Delft University of Technology, Leiden University Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Caspar Smits, Jingwen Yao, Eleonora Ibragimova and Alkistis Kokorikou
Design an affordable thermometer suitable for people in Africa
The project started with literature research and experts interviews to understand the context and users. Then a 3-weeks field research trip in rural Uganda took place, where design and ethnographic methods were used to answer our research questions. Methods used were individual and group interviews, co-creation sessions with local people, mock-shop (from Ideo's HCD tollkit) and testing with rough prototypes. Several concepts for the armpit, ear and forehead were created in brainstorming sessions within the group. Some of them were made in foam models and tested in the field with community members and health workers.
The final design is called the Stamp and it is a highly accurate thermometer for the forehead using an infrared sensor. It is big and robust, suitable for the living conditions in rural Uganda. Its cost is estimated at $3 and it is targeted to the village health workers. It has a user-friendly interface, combining numbers with colors and smiley icons, easy to understand by people with little or no education.