Master’s Students Receive Records for Life Award

Jessica Weeden

The School of Design is excited to announce that two second-year MDes students, Yian Ling Cheong and Sarah Sykes, won the ‘Visualization of Data’ award in the Records for Life contest, an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Records for Life Challenge was launched in the search for innovative designs to help improve child health records in developing coun­tries and inspire creativity to rethink and redesign immunization cards.

Cheong and Sykes’s submission, VacciNation, fea­tures four parts to help solve this problem. The first is a physical record, which can be implemented immediately, allowing mothers to keep all of her children’s records in one place. The mother can also learn timely information about her child’s growth through the record. The second component is a map, which exists at every health clinic. After every vaccination, parents help to keep track of the community’s immunization status by placing a sticker on the map. Families can thus encourage one another to fully vaccinate each child, developing healthy immunization habits as a community. This map would also be available online allowing global citizens to understand vaccination needs around the world, and therefore donate resources or manpower in a timely manner. The information can also be aggregated for doctors and policymakers to understand the country’s vaccination progress over the years.

The final component of the project is a mobile application, which enables the digitization of physical health records. The distinguished jury members (including Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and  Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization) particularly appreciated how the digital records reflect the physical records exactly, to facilitate the digital transition of child health information.  

The two Interaction Design Master’s students undertook the project for the class, Pieces 2.0: Social Innovation, a class open to both undergraduate and graduate students and focused on designing for any social problem students may identify. Cheong and Sykes were drawn to this project because it offered an opportunity to apply their backgrounds in industrial design and design research on physical components and further develop their interaction design skills while working with the digital elements. Both of them would especially like to express their gratitude to Professor Dylan Vitone and their Pieces 2.0 classmates for their guidance and feedback throughout the fall semester.

Cheong and Sykes’ submission was selected from over 300 applicants around the world. Their design underwent user testing with families and healthcare professionals in India, Kenya and Indonesia. The final winners were announced in Amsterdam at the 2014 IxDA conference.

The Gates Foundation will now take the top 10 finalists’ designs to various global health organizations in hopes of finding a holistic solution that may pull ideas from any of the submissions.

To read more about the project, please visit Sarah's or Yian Ling's online portfolios.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
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