Low Cost Aflatoxins Scanner

Design Problem

Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy, contributing one-third of the Gross Domestic Product. About 75% of Kenya’s population of roughly 50 million work at least part-time in the agricultural sector. And of this, Maize is a staple for 90% per cent of all people in Kenya. There are certain toxins in maize, that if gone unchecked, pose a significant danger to human life. One such toxin is known as aflatoxin. It is a hepatotoxin and therefore attacks the liver– causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of cases of liver cancer over the years. Testing for this issue is not widespread in the informal maize market in Kenya– which comprises more than half of the total market. My aim was to create a low-cost detector that was easy to use and did not utilise complex components. This would be of great use to small-Medium size farmers in Kenya. 

Design Process 

The criteria for this design were very strict in this case. The entire product could not be more than $50 so that a group of farmers could effectively and productively share the device and sample their harvests as well as check the product during the drying process also. A  modular design made out of cardboard had to be created so that in the event of damage to the housing, the electronics could be easily swapped from one to the other. The current design incorporates scores on a flat sheet of cardboard which could be easily folded to make the casing so that the assembly process can be made to be intuitive and easy. Designs were first sketched, then created in illustrator, and prototyped. Necessary additions or corrections were made to the file and the process continued. The modular design was also extremely helpful with regards to the pace of the design process. 

Link to Process Journal and Reflection Video

Process Journal