Dezeen Magazine

Person presenting reformed revenue policies and practices about Chicago, USA, traffic

Five design projects by graduates at Institute of Design

Dezeen School Shows: a gadget that filters distracting notifications from mobile devices is included in Dezeen's latest school show by students at Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Also featured is a device that can monitor a patient's vitals from the comfort of their own home and a stormwater collection service that aims to provide a renewable water resource.

Institute of Design

Institution: Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
School: Institute of Design (ID)
Course: Master of Design
Tutors: Zach Pino, Martin Thaler, Mark Jones, Carlos Teixeira, Ruth Schmidt and Christopher Rudd

School statement:

"The Institute of Design is where learners become leaders and vice versa. Our programmes are designed to expand your career opportunities.

"We offer a range of rigorous graduate programmes that expand the tenets and applications of human-centred design, systems-based design and holistic design.

"The graduate programmes aim to help students identify and build new ways forward in any industry or role, even in the most challenging times.

"The class takes a data-driven approach where students learn how to fluently develop their ideas into interactive and responsive outcomes.

"Students use electronics and programmatic prototyping tools to explore new forms of interaction with digital mediums."

Person standing on a large vehicle

Tackling Chicago's Impending Water Shortage by Aman Bhardwaj, Kavya Rai and Palak Shah

"The city of Chicago, USA, faces a number of water-related problems. These include urban flooding, 100-year-old water infrastructures prone to breaking, sewer blockage during storms and that common yet mistaken notion that we have an unlimited water supply from Lake Michigan.

"We would be wise to start recognising rainwater for the valuable asset to sustainability that it is and set up resilient systems that ensures water remains a public utility accessible to all citizens.

"To do so, the students worked in partnership with Fjord – now Accenture Song – to design Rainwater Collective, a stormwater collection and support service for Chicago homeowners.

"The service seeks to tie the longer-term threat of a freshwater deficit with current-day concerns by facilitating a public-private collaboration and community involvement.

"Rainwater Collective's barrels capture rainwater and allow communities to contribute to citywide water efforts in reclaiming water from a renewable resource."

Students: Aman Bhardwaj, Kavya Rai and Palak Shah
Course: Master of Design: Service Systems Workshop
Tutor: Mark Jones

Two vital monitoring devices sized to fit an adult arm and a baby's chest

Improving Healthcare Outcomes with At-Home Technology by Adelyn Soetyono, Keval Parekh, Jiwon Shin and Han Wen Chang

"Local pharmacies in Africa are transforming the African healthcare system. One pharmacy chain in particular, mPharma, has a mission to make affordable healthcare accessible to every citizen in Africa.

"Today, mPharma has already made an impact on over 150,000 pharmacy members. The students identified this chain as a potential key partner for Neopenda, a healthcare startup, to distribute Neoguard, their four-in-one vitals monitoring device, across Africa.

"Incorporating its four-in-one vitals monitoring technology, the students reimagined Neoguard as a device that can be worn by patients of all ages at home.

"They came up with a rent-based business model along with strategies to partner with mPharma and enter a new market.

"The new service is called Neomita, comprised of Mita Band – the physical device – and Neo Software, the digital platform for inventory management, both produced by the Industry of Design team at Illinois Institute of Technology."

Students: Adelyn Soetyono, Keval Parekh, Jiwon Shin and Han Wen Chang
Course: Master of Design: Product Design Workshop sponsored by healthcare startup Neopenda
Tutor: Martin Thaler

Person interacting with a notification desk display

Attention Seeker: A Calming Alternative to Phone Notifications by Priyanka Lalwani and Sahib Thukral

"The average American citizen checks their phone 96 times a day. Most of this time is spent scrolling through unnecessary feeds after receiving a notification.

"Such notifications are designed to capture our attention. They evoke a sense of urgency and before we know it, we're back on our phones scrolling again.

"The report by the Attentional Harms and Digital Inequalities paper, published in 2022, shows that constantly shifting our attention not only impacts our attention spans but our mental health in general.

"Lalwani and Thukral have developed a low-resolution desk display made of ferrofluid and LED lights. It presents an alternative to constant pings and only captures attention when absolutely necessary.

"Named after the slow diffusion process of Osmosis, Osmo similarly diffuses information from one's mobile device. This enables users to work efficiently without being interrupted by a barrage of unnecessary notifications.

"The device functions as a separate entity from the mobile device, allowing users to gain back their attention spans and decrease stress."

Students: Priyanka Lalwani and Sahib Thukral
Course: Master of Design: Digital Media
Tutor: Zach Pino

Illustrated cards that outlines the inspiration behind a project that helps people of colour commute

Putting the 'BIPOC' in Nature by Elizabeth Graff, Emery Donovan, Latrina Lee, Luce James, Sunaina Kuhn, Yonghak Kim, Ron Martin and Takayuki Kato

"The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) in Illinois, USA, has over 70,000 acres of land spread across the Cook County region – 69,743 acres of that land, or 99.6 per cent, requires a vehicle or hours-long commute on public transit to visit.

"This means that much of the FPCC remains inaccessible to the communities that would benefit most from it. On Chicago's South Side, the Dan Ryan Woods is the only forest preserve site within a reasonable distance of public transportation.

"In a city like Chicago, this matters – black commuters use public transit at nearly double that of other racial groups.

"Under the guidance of faculty member Chris Rudd, founder of anti-racist design firm ChiByDesign, and Andre Nogueira, co-founder of Harvard's D-Lab, the Institute of Design's Co-Designing Social Interventions Workshop took a ten-month deep dive into the relationship that black people, indigenous people and people of colour (BIPOC) have with the natural world.

"To design a strategy for helping the FPCC achieve its goals, we had to uncover the root of the problem. Why don't BIPOC people utilise the resources the FPCC has to offer?

"The FPCC website lists 21 activities for Cook County residents to participate in while visiting the preserves. Surely there is something for everyone to enjoy, right?"

Students: Elizabeth Graff, Emery Donovan, Latrina Lee, Luce James, Sunaina Kuhn, Yonghak Kim, Ron Martin and Takayuki Kato
Course: Master of Design: Co-Design and Social Interventions Workshop
Tutor: Christopher Rudd

Person presenting reformed revenue policies and practices about Chicago, USA, traffic

Group project: Reimagining the Resident Government Relationship 

"The cost of citations and tickets from red light cameras, speeding cameras and parking meters can quickly add up – one ticket can trigger a chain reaction.

"This can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in late fees, car impoundment and driver's license suspension. Job loss and crippling debt can follow.

"Tackling the problem, a 20-person team of student designers at the Institute of Design took part in the graduate school's Sustainable Solutions Workshop this spring, held in partnership with the City Clerk's office.

"During the 14-week workshop, students brainstormed ways to reform revenue policies and practices with the aim of creating a more equitable and sustainable city.

"Their innovative solutions went beyond the scope of the project to examine how to make Chicago safer, healthier and easier to navigate for both drivers and pedestrians."

Students: Abigail Auwaerter, Alison Chiu, Jerick Evans, Symone Fogg, Katherine Gowland, Rosanna Lederhausen, Brayan Pabon Gomez, Meghna Prakash, Siyuan Teng, Xuan (Joanna) Zhou, Ujjwal Anand, Kota Fujikawa, Ruohua Huang, Arijit Patra, Takuya Isogai, Sanhyong Park, Kat Reiser, Jeff Sprague, Takeshi Tanaka and Kazumasa Yamada
Course: Mater of Design: Sustainable Solutions Workshop
Tutors: Carlos Teixeira, Ruth Schmidt and Christopher Rudd

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and Institute of Design. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.