In her Design That Endures class at Parsons, Yogita Agrawal, BFA Product Design ’15, was asked to consider, What are essential human needs? She recalled that activity ceased after sundown in Indian villages she’d visited. “Lives become limited by darkness after nightfall,” says Agrawal. With essential needs in mind, Agrawal created Jhoule (see above), a motion-powered LED lamp that earned her a Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design Student Grant, the James Dyson Award, and university support to present at the 2016 Design Indaba conference in Cape Town.
Agrawal imagined freeing users from the complications of kerosene and solar lamps with a locally manufactured portable light source. Noting that villagers often walked, she designed a lamp powered by the human stride. Her device—a reel that attaches to the waist and unspools a cord fastened to an ankle—generates and stores energy, powering a built-in lamp.
Agrawal is refining prototypes for production while working on other projects. She and peers recently designed SoaPen, a product promoting hygiene among schoolchildren. SoaPen won UNICEF’s Wearables for Good Challenge and is currently in UNICEF’s accelerator program.