Designing Solutions 2015-2016


Ultra Low-Cost Approach to Remediate Groundwater Fluoride Contamination in India

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    Using bauxite, an aluminum-rich ore, to remediate groundwater fluoride through a community-scale batch absorption process. Eliminating the costly and wasteful process of refining bauxite into activated alumina- a commonly utilized defluoridation approach- reduces the annual per capita cost of treated water significantly, from $50/person/year to ~$1/person/year.

Lab on A Chip


    Seeking to provide affordable point of care diagnostics using the common method for creating microfluidic devices. With materials such as Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and glass/plastic, it is possible to modify previous designs that would allow cheaper and faster diagnostic of diseases like Tuberculosis.

Stored Solar Energy Stove

solar panel

    A portable solar energy stove that can be used at night or in poor sunlight with very high potential cooking temperatures. Utilizing the liquid-to-solid phase change to store heat enables higher energy density then sensible heat alone, potentially reducing the cost of heat storage significantly.

PV Powered Medical Station

Solar cart presentation

    Provides off-grid, self contained, micro PV powered solution, complete with an anti-bacterial reverse osmosis system, vaccine cooler, auxillary power supply, spotlight, needle dispensary, and collapsable IV pole. The solution is made fully portable on two 6″ off road wheels and customizable to accommodate any scenario.


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    Creating a new bridge of hope connecting the public to the homeless person: a one-on-one, face-to-face relationship with the homeless person, giving each homeless individual a new face and the tools to stimulate a public response and achieve full recovery off the streets.


American Bazaar Online (June 26, 2015): “Indian American doctoral student at Berkeley Katya Cherukumilli wins top prize for designing way to reduce poverty in India” (link)

Daily Pilot (June 11, 2015): “How to solve poverty? UCI contest winners have have innovative ideas” (link)

OC Register (June 10, 2015): “UCI Contest draws proposals to alleviate poverty” (link)

Daily Pilot (May 8, 2015): “Blum Center seeks poverty-alleviating contest submissions” (link)

OC Register (May 7, 2015): “UC Irvine offers prize for poverty solutions” (link)