2.722J, EC.720 D-Lab: Design

D-Lab: Design

D-Lab: Design addresses problems faced by underserved communities with a focus on design, experimentation, and prototyping processes. Particular attention is placed on constraints faced when designing for developing countries. Multidisciplinary teams work on semester-long projects in collaboration with community partners, field practitioners, and experts in relevant fields.

Topics covered include design for affordability, design for manufacture, sustainability, and strategies for working effectively with community partners and customers. Students may continue projects begun in D-Lab: Development (EC.701)

Read blog post about the course by co-instructors Jerome Arul and Sorin Grama!

Course syllabus

Course Information
Instructors: Jerome Arul, Sorin Grama
Semester Offered: Spring (Offered since 2003)
Lecture Location: N51-350
Lecture Times: MW3:30-5
Units (credit hours) 3-0-9
Class Size: 30 students
Grading: A/B/C/D/F
Course Student Projects
2013Braille TypewriterA Braille typewriter for children in Vellore, India, to help them gain skills that lead to jobs
BrazilA water level reader for residents in Dois Palitos, Brazil, to keep them out of harms way
Food GrinderA food grinder to aid a biogas digester at a school in El Salvador
Plastic CompactorA waste compactor for women in a co-op in Nicaragua to help them gain independence
Team EmmanuelaA one-handed washing machine to assist a young amputee in Ghana
2012Bicycle CentrifugeWorking with a community partner in Nigeria to improve an off grid centrifuge design for medical applications
Coir SpinningDesign a device to allow women in Assam to spin coconut fibers into rope
Crayon ManufacturingA device to aid low scale manufacturing of natural dye crayons for Avani, in Uttarakhand, India
Multi-Crop ThresherA low-cost device with the ability to thresh multiple crops in Ethiopia
Narrow RickshawDesigned to help Rickshaw Wallas in Dhaka, Bangladesh keep their jobs and maintain livelihood
2011Flour PowerAffordable in-home human powered grain mills to finely grind flour in East Africa
HairzingersSimple tool to facilitate the beading process for women working in co-operatives in China
Moringa ShellerA device that shells moringa seeds, a high value crop with income generating potential in Ghana
Rickshaw LightingLow cost, pedal-powered lighting for the Rickshaw Bank in Assam, India
Straw ChopperChopping straw to use as a substrate for growing mushrooms growers and supplement income in Assam, India
Toilet SeatImproved design for locally manufacturable urine separating toilet seats in Ghana
2010Bamboo Pencil MakerProcess for easy manufacturing of bamboo pencils that are comparable to pencils made from wood.
Chlorine GenerationUsing locally run electrolysis for a do-it-yourself approach to chlorine generation
Plastic Bottle RecyclingDevice that granulates and cleans used plastic bottles into reusable flakes
Portable BicilavadoraPedal-powered washing machine that easily transports from house to house.
Spiral Pine Needle CookstoveCookstove for burning pine needles as an alternative fuel source in India
Vegetable CutterMechanized device for dicing large volumes of potatoes for an orphanage in Peru.
2009Cell Phone Enabled Baby ScaleIntegrated solution for for tracking infant health parameters in General Practicioner clinics in Pakistan
Chlorine DispenserPoint-of-collection chlorine dispenser for rural communal water sources in western Kenya
Hydropower LanternSelf-powered portable hydro-powered lantern for the Peruvian highlands
Plastic Bag RecyclingA simple device to turn waste plastic bags into plastic yarn
Soil Block MakerUtilization of vibration for the compression of soil and cement into bricks
Solar Water HeaterAffordable solar water heater for high altitude deserts
2008Bamboo Pencil MakerDevice for cutting and slotting bamboo pencil shafts
Integrated Food Vendor CartMulti-system mobile food cart for Indian street vendors
Mobile Maize ShellerBicycle-based system for on-farm shelling of corn
Mobile Stove Monitoring Kit(MOSMO) Portable cookstove emissions test kit designer for field applications
Peanut Oil PressPortable, pedal-powered peanut oil expeller
Portable Solar CookerPortable solar parabolic concentrator designed with nomadic peoples of the high-altitude regions of central Tibet
Soy Milk MakerDevice for mechanizing the production of large volumes of soymilk for an orphanage in Peru