Why is Designing for Developing Countries More Challenging? Modelling the Product Design Domain for Medical Devices
Medical device designs aspire to take into account human factors and ergonomics. However, making these designs affordable and appropriate for developing nations is often challenging, especially when the accepted product cost has to be low. In this paper a theoretical model is presented to explore how creating appropriate designs for developing countries is more challenging than for developed countries. For illustrative purposes the model will take in variables that represent real-world
... real-world descriptors. The variables relate to functionality, comfort and cost of a certain product. The outcome will describe the appropriateness of the final design. All the variables involved in the design can be assumed to have a certain number of degrees of freedom. These degrees of freedom are the number of independent ways by which the design can change without violating constraints that are imposed on it. In other words it is the number of dimensions in the design domain. The domain is more limited in the developing world and this is caused by the restricted product cost. A design threshold is subsequently set to compute the total volume of acceptable designs within a certain domain. A discrete computation method is used to estimate this volume. The model shows that the number of appropriate designs increases with almost a factor 5 when the accepted cost are doubled, increasing the probability on developing an appropriate medical device that correctly takes into account human factors and ergonomics. Relative to the total design volume, the percentage of acceptable designs drops from 34% to 6% when the allowed cost are halved. These results represent an abstraction of the appropriateness of designs, based on the interaction of selected variables. The model itself will produce different outcomes depending on the parameters that are set. Further verification and validation is needed to assess which values best represent real-world conditions.