EC.720J | Spring 2010 | Undergraduate
D-Lab II: Design


Design Challenges

To select their class projects, students review and vote their interest among a set of Design Challenges. These are short project proposals compiled by D-Lab staff, based on criteria including community partner interest, past D-Lab activity, and overall value.

Voting happens with the Project Selection Form, which also helps the instructors create teams with an appropriate mix of skills, backgrounds and interests.

  • Project Selection Form (PDF)

The following table lists the six design challenges selected by the Spring 2010 class to become class projects, followed by brief summaries of the other candidates not selected by the class.

Selected Design Challenges
Bamboo Pencil Maker Process for easy manufacturing of bamboo pencils that are comparable to pencils made from wood. Compiled descriptions (PDF)
Chlorine Generation Using locally run electrolysis for a do-it-yourself approach to chlorine generation.
Plastic Bottle Recycling Device that granulates and cleans used plastic bottles into reusable flakes.
Portable Bicilavadora ‡ Pedal-powered washing machine that easily transports from house to house.
Spiral Pine Needle Cookstove ‡ Cookstove for burning pine needles as an alternative fuel source in India.
Vegetable Cutter Mechanized device for dicing large volumes of potatoes for an orphanage in Peru.
Other Candidates (Not Selected)
Braille Typewriter Low-cost Braille typewriter that can be manufactured and distributed among blind and partially sighted individuals These design challenge descriptions are not available
Charcoal Briquette Maker Faster briquette-making devices to improve the feasibility of producing charcoal from agricultural waste as an income generating activity in Haiti
Clay Molder Device that helps women in Brong-Ahafo, Ghana to mold clay more quickly into the appropriate shapes for selling
Forestry Growth Management SMS integrated device to measure and record tree growth for forestry management in Vietnam
Low CO Stove A fuel-efficient charcoal stove with low carbon monoxide emissions
Maize Sheller Attachment Redesigning a component of a bicycle attachment to remove maize kernels from the cob so that the entire device can be made locally in Tanzania
Paper Bag Maker Improving the production process for recycled paper bags at a women’s shelter in Kolkata, India
Straw Chopper Chopping straw to use as a substrate for growing mushrooms, to supplement income in Assam, India
Water Siting Low-cost tools to accurately locate groundwater before labor-intensive manual well drilling in Ghana

‡ For the Portable Bicilavadora and the Spiral Pine Needle Cookstove, the design review presentations and final reports are presented at the end of this page.

Design Packet

The Design Packet describes the sequence of process steps and milestones to be followed by the design teams. The earlier steps serve as homework assignments, leading into a final phase of prototype fabrication, testing, and evaluation.

Complete Design Packet (PDF)

For ease of use and website cross referencing, the Design Packet is also presented in this sequence of four webpages.

Sample Project Results

These final project reports are presented courtesy of the students and used with permission.

Movilavadora (Portable Bicilavadora) (PDF - 2.1MB)

Spiral Pine Needle Cookstove (PDF - 1.7MB)

Project Follow-up

Project Follow-up Survey (PDF)

Many D-Lab projects continue through multiple years of testing and refinement. See the D-Lab website for the latest information on recent

Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2010
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes
group_work Projects with Examples
assignment Design Assignments
assignment Written Assignments
assignment_turned_in Activity Assignments with Examples