DFA fellows and co-founders Mert Iseri and Yuri Malina have been hard at work developing a solution to the 4th leading cause of death in the United States: hospital-acquired infections, which result in over 90,000 deaths and over $4 billion in costs annually. Their solution is SwipeSense and as of today, they are on their way to saving lives.
It all started last year, when the Jerry the Bear team decided it was time to bring Jerry to life. They took an independent study with Northwestern Professor Michael Peshkin and built a bear that could talk– bringing them one step closer to improving the lives of children with diabetes.
The results are in, the DFA Right Angle is able to reduce water use in cafeterias by half. After two days of testing, team lead, Thea Klein-Mayer galvanized a team of students to watch and observe cafeteria staff during open hours. Day one, the team created a baseline and measured that the for a 9 hour day, the water was on for 5 hours. Day two, with the Right Angle in place, this amount was brought down to 2.7 hours, that’s a reduction of nearly half!
Well, we just had a whirlwind tour visiting all 8 of our DFA studios! From UCLA to Dartmouth, students are plugging away at tackling the most complex challenges of our time. So what have the teams been up to? 170 students from campuses throughout the country have been hard at work establishing local partnerships and understanding community needs. They’ve started out with broad themes such as health or homelessness and been doing deep dives to understand where design can make an impact.
Jerry the Bear, Design for America’s very first design for social impact project, is making the leap from product prototype to development and testing!
He’s DFA’s own cuddly robotic and interactive health education toy for children living with Type 1 diabetes. And he’s got his own Jerry the Bear website and he has started blogging at his own Jerry the Bear blog (you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook too! This bear is an unusual ursus roboticus!)
This Winter 2012, Dell Social Innovation Fellow Aaron Horowitz and DFA Student Co-Founder Hannah Chung will be moving (temporarily!) to Providence, Rhode Island so that they can work on Jerry full-time! (But never fear, DFA colleagues, we have roped them into promising to visit the DFA RISD/BROWN studio often!)
Every year, 186,000 children in the US are diagnosed with diabetes. Jerry the Bear prepares children for the lifestyle changes they will experience. Children learn how to take care of themselves by taking care of Jerry the Bear with diabetes, giving insulin shots, monitoring his diet and measuring glucose levels.
A couple of weeks ago, Design for America was pleased and proud to be a part of Chicago Ideas Week 2011 in more ways than one!
For those who aren’t familiar, Chicago Ideas Week was the brainchild of Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon and Lightbank, who spoke to Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune about Chicago and its Midwestern humbleness:
Venture capitalist Brad Keywell once told me Chicago needs to be more “noisy.” If that’s the case, Chicago Ideas Week, making its debut Monday, is his big brass band, a way to trumpet big-name speakers and innovative local companies.
The Third Coast has a thriving, vibrant innovation/design/creativity scene, so it is no surprise that Design for America got its start in the Windy City. Go Chicago!
There were a few stand out moments at Chicago Ideas Week 2011 for DFA:
It’s official–Design for America has successfully launched at each one of our DFA studios throughout the country! One by one, each DFA studio has galvanized amazing energy from their communities to tackle local and social issues. Here at DFA’s HQ, it’s been astounding to see the energy from each one of our teams with each excited email update coming in. With 30-110 students showing up to each one of the kick-offs, we can’t wait to see what the studios do with so much energy!
In the words of one attendee, CUSP is inspirational, funny, thought-provoking, eye-opening, informative, inspirational, fascinating, humbling, soothing, shocking, awesome, inspirational, unbelievable, wise, touching, smart, healthy, honest, confusing, inspirational, affirming, creative and just friggin’ amazing. Did I mention inspirational? CUSP gets 300+ smart, energized, creative, inspiring, talented people into a room, get them talking to each other, then waits to see what happens.
For a second year, Design for America has been honored to be a speaker at CUSP. After stepping up on stage last year with DFA faculty founder Liz Gerber, Mert Iseri took the spotlight as a featured speaker while passing the baton to DFA senior, Aaron Horowitz, who was sharing the story of Jerry the Bear.