Current Extreme NewsPost-Extreme Lab: Design LabYear: 2019

Design Lab Cohort 2019-20

The final stage in the Design for Extreme Affordability journey on campus is the Design Lab. The Design Lab runs from September through August and allows our most promising teams to continue refining their concepts and bring them to fruition. We provide them with not only funding, but also space in our Design Lab at the Graduate School of Business. This past year, we supported three teams in our Design Lab: Scopi, Lift, and SmartSmile.


Scopi is a diagnostic medical device for use by speech therapists to view and diagnose structural defects that cause speech problems for children in developing countries. Only 12% of clinics worldwide have access to this essential device due to its high price and unwieldy design. Without access to devices like Scopi, patients spend years in ineffective speech therapy, resulting in young children entering school with speech impediments that can cause delayed language development, social isolation, and low self esteem. Scopi costs 10% the price of current equivalent equipment, is easy for all speech therapists and physicians to use, and connects to smartphones to facilitate the sharing of results between medical professionals. The Scopi team is headed by Anna von Wendorff and Ashdeep Seth. 


Lift is a durable and light cart that enables Ghanaian women to transport 2-3 times more shea nuts than previously possible through traditional head carrying methods. By increasing their overall shea nut payload, these women will be able to earn enough money to pay for expenses and annual fees. A 50% increase in load per trip equates to a $36 income increase per season; this will cover the annual school fees for three of her children. Lift is made up of Paola Martinez and Daniela Vainer.


SmartSmile is working to make the treatment of cleft lip/palate a less long and tiresome journey for cleft patients and their families. One of the hardest steps is when an underbite is developed. At this stage, patients have to wear a protraction facemask for 12-16 hours every day to help pull their maxilla forward. This process can range from several months to a couple years. To make things harder, orthodontists are not able to verify whether their patients wear the facemask the prescribed amount, and patients are not able to prove their compliance. Smart Smile is a small electronic device that fits on the facemask, tracks the usage, eliminates the black box of information between orthodontists and patients, and strengthens the relationship between them, all leading to better outcomes. SmartSmile is led by Dasha Savage.