Product Design Winner
University of the West of England
Bsc (Hons) Product Design Technology
The original brief was to design wearable technology to improve the well being or the quality of people lives. The brief was adapted and refined to create wearable technology to help detect Pneumonia in children in the designer’s home country, Kenya; the solution, to provide a low cost, and intuitive Pneumonia detection device capable of reaching as many children as possible.
Around 2,500 children die of Pneumonia every day, with a large proportion being from developing countries. As increased respiratory rate is the main symptom for the lethal lung disease, doctors in developing countries count breaths by eye to determine whether it is present, which can leave a large margin for error. The designer obtained insight into the severity of the issue as his mother is a Kenyan doctor. Describing procedure of holding babies to monitor chest movement, with a watch to count respiratory rate, she stressed how inaccurate the method of diagnosis was in practice. After being approached with this problem, the Kulinda solution was developed.
The product, Kulinda, is a simple Pneumonia diagnosis device. It is first placed on a child to count their breaths per minute with a stretch sensor. A lighting system is integrated to easily indicate whether Pneumonia is present or not (this is determined by an algorithm within a microchip). It is intuitive with simple functionality, as there are only 3 buttons to turn on the device and to toggle the age of the child. It detects Pneumonia by counting the child’s breaths and compares the respiratory rate to thresholds provided by the World Health Organisation. The device is designed to be low cost at $20 USD, priced and positioned as an affordable option compared to its competitor made by Phillips at $99. It is therefore able to reach as many children as possible, due to this low price point and an ease of use which enables it to be applied without formal medical training.