GiraDora: A Washing Machine That Could Change Lives

Design is a passion of mine.  I love to see design used to improve and change lives.  I came across this feature on on FastCo.Design’s site about the GiraDora, a foot-powered self-contained washing unit that will run for about $40.  It’s meant to be used in areas hard hit with poverty.  Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You, students of the Design Matters program at the Art Center College of Design, developed this product after visiting a slum in Peru called Cerro Verde.  What was surprising to them was the amount of time it took to do something as simple as washing clothes because of the effort needed to get water and prep for the process.  From the article:

The duo knew they had uncovered a huge opportunity for innovation by design. Why didn’t a manually powered washer or dryer already exist? They got to work, building a series of study models based on salad spinners and other similar human-powered devices. But their first finished prototype—a spin dryer—didn’t quite hit the mark with Cerro Verde’s inhabitants, who countered with an idea for an ad-hoc combination washer and dryer. “They felt it added more value as one single product,” writes Cabunoc. “This radically changed our design direction.”

After refining the design, they came up with a prototype that they tested in the community and had success.  Knowing they had hit upon a huge opportunity to change lives, Cabunoc and You have been pushing to get this project funded.

This could help so many people make changes they need to help them improve their situations.  I like the idea of this because it’s about efficiency and efficacy.  It’s not over-designed.  It has what it needs and every piece is functional.

This project is up for an Innovation by Design Award at FastCo.Design.  Check it out as well as the other projects today.