On a spot-lit stage Wednesday April 4th, 2012 in downtown Chicago, DFA’s SwipeSense team, Mert Iseri and Yuri Malina stood before more than 250 venture capitalists and angel investors to pitch their idea — a portable, BlackBerry-size hand-sanitation device that attaches to the belt of health care providers. The goal: To raise $1 million for their nascent company, SwipeSense, to fund five pilot programs at some of Chicago’s largest medical centers.
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.
DFA UO @ Eugene has hit the ground running this year with some amazing events designed to pull students out of their seats…and into the world!
Initial enthusiasm is strong!
“We are needed everywhere and if we can make an impact in Eugene then that is a significant contribution. Design for American combines a love of design and a love of philanthropy and service. And I think this is the best way to find meaningful and long-lasting solutions.” -Claire Sakaguchi, Product Design, Sophomore
Partnering with a representative user–product designer and newly-hired faculty member Molly Rogers–to explore the challenges a wheelchair user might face on a daily basis, they borrowed wheel chairs from the health center and went to a grocery markets to experience first-hand the difficulties of shopping in a wheel chair.
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.
“With Stars in their Eyes, DFA Students want to change the world,” is the title of Fast Company’s feature on Design for America. And this couldn’t ring more true.
As we just witnessed the breadth of energy and enthusiasm from our Summer Leadership Studio, we know that DFA students, now at eight universities throughout the country, are not waiting for a changed world, but are creating it.
From improving the lives of children with diabetes to improving foot care for the homeless, DFA students are tackling the complex issues of today, one project at a time with tireless efforts in interdisciplinary teams.
I think we can safely say from all of us at DFA, it is a huge honor to be highlighted by such a well-respected source and couldn’t be more thrilled. We only hope that this type of recognition will help broaden our reach and our abilities to make tangible impact in our communities and in America.
We are mentioned twice, so here’s a clip from the main article, United States of Design.
In typical American fashion, the antidote to a vacuum of governmental support has been the recent creation of an unofficial, bottom-up, democratic ecosystem. Scott Wilson tapped into that ecosystem via Kickstarter, and there are many other strains–from crafts seller Etsy to social product-development company Quirky to fast-expanding online design communities such as Behance, Dribbble, Ffffound, Forrst, Svpply, and others. These sites give designers venues to share and vet their creations, to reach out to prospective employers, and to launch businesses without suffering through the complexity and obstacles of traditional capital raising or infrastructure building. A burgeoning national student organization called Design for America, started at Northwestern by Yuri Malina, Mert Iseri, Hannah Chung, and Liz Gerber, is bringing design-process thinking to students at eight universities across the country, who typically might imagine that design encompasses furniture, fashion, and little more. There’s even interest in Silicon Valley, where venture capitalists have created a not-for-profit called the Designer Fund to train and capitalize designers.
Wow! Who knew 6 weeks could fly by so quickly and that so much could be accomplished in such little time! The DFA Northwestern summer studio, joined by design professionals, just reviewed their concepts to plan out their next steps. Check out what some our reviewers had to say and read about the projects below!
DFA is evidence of the value of interdisciplinary teams and bringing together diverse minds to tackle complex problems.”
- Ric Edinberg. Principal, Insitum
I’m ready to hire them.”
- Christian Long, VP The Third Teacher +
With less than two weeks to final presentations, the summer studio fellows are learning how iterative the design process is as they finalize their ideas and work on their mock-ups and prototypes.
Tinking Team is hands deep in fabric, peg boards, and drafting paper as they prototype activities designed to empower children to tinker…