Yogita Agrawal on design for impact in India

Design Indaba Global Graduate Yogita Agrawal shares two of her projects: a wearable that uses human movement to power a light and a soap pen to improve hygiene.

Industrial design graduate Yogita Agrawal focuses on solving problems in emerging global communities with innovative products and sustainable technologies. For her graduate project she designed Jhoule, a wearable that harness power from human movement after she noticed that how mobile rural communities in India were. Agrawal had observed that solar panels weren't common or popular, and wanted to help off-grid homes find a way to power lights in the evenings that better suited their lifestyles. 

"Light is one of the priveledges we take for granted in our daily life," says Agrawal. "But product design isn't just about the fully functioning product, a good solution is one that harnesses human habits and seamlessly fits into the lifestyle of its users."

Agrawal design Jhoule to mirror an ornament that women in India were used to wearing and that adds a sense of identity to the ornament. Jhoule charges while its wearer walks, can be worn on the chest to light the way home in the absence of street lights and can be pinned to the wall to light the home.

Agrawals other project, the soapen, adds a bit of fun and play to the real problem of encouraging children to keep their hands clean to reduce child mortality rates. Here, she had noticed that children are bad at washing their hands but love to draw all over themselves, and so her solution was to design a soap that kids can use like a crayon.