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The Application of Retrospective Customer Needs Cultural Risk Indicator Method to Soap Dispenser Design for Children in Ethiopia

[+] Author Affiliations
Joseph R. Igleski, Tahira Reid

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Douglas L. Van Bossuyt

Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

Paper No. DETC2016-60530, pp. V02AT03A058; 12 pages
doi:10.1115/DETC2016-60530
From:
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2A: 42nd Design Automation Conference
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5010-7
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME

abstract

We present here the design and analysis of a cost-effective soap dispenser that prevents bar soap theft in schools in developing countries. The intended region of deployment is within Ethiopia and surrounding areas. Lack of public hygiene is attributed to 1.4 million global deaths annually due to preventable diarrheal diseases. Using soap while washing hands is estimated to decreases death due to diarrheal diseases by half. Theft of soap from public wash stations, such as those found in schools, is believed to contribute to the spread of diarrheal diseases. Currently there exists no adequate cost-effective solutions to protect bar soap from theft although there appears to be a demand and there is a need for such a device.

An undergraduate student mechanical design team in a sophomore design course at Purdue University was tasked with developing a soap dispenser that prevents theft of bar soap. The project prompt was provided by Purdue Global Engineering Programs’ Innovation to International Development (I2D) Lab. Students were instructed to complete the first step (Product Concept) of the Lean Design for the Developing World (LDW) method to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The team then completed a retrospective analysis of the MVP using the Customer Needs Cultural Risk Indicator (CNCRI) method to determine potential shortcomings that may be identified in the second step (Validated Learning) of the LDW method. Several customer needs and their component and design solutions that need close monitoring during the second step of the LDW method were identified. The highest risk customer needs included: culturally appropriate design, aesthetic appeal, security, and durability.

Based on the experiences of the design team, several important lessons were learned that can both be applied to improving the secure bar soap dispenser product and to the broader field of product design for the developing world. These lessons include: Customers in the developing world may be more concerned with cost than durability, cultural appeal of a device is highly dependent on first -hand experience and can easily be misunderstood or misrepresented, the LDW method is an invaluable tool in identifying customer needs that may be overlooked due to cultural and socio-economic differences. The use of the LDW framework and the CNCRI method in an undergraduate design group was found to be useful, viable, and valuable to both the undergraduate student learning outcomes and the development of a product that can be deployed to its intended market. Further development of an end-to-end tool chain is needed to better integrate product development for the developing world into mainstream engineering curriculum.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Design , Risk

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