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Alba: A Period Detection Wipe for the Visually Impaired

Empowering
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2024
United States
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Team

Binita Gupta, Deepika Gopalakrishnan, Priyanka Pillai, Shravya Kanithi

Company | Institution

Harvard University

Category

Concept

Type

Student

Project description

Menstruating individuals generally rely on visual cues to know when they have gotten their period. However, menstruating people who are blind or visually impaired have to rely on other senses including touch, smell or even taste to distinguish between blood and other bodily fluids, or rely on others to know when they've started their period. Moreover, it also inhibits their ability to make decisions regarding intercourse and pregnancy independently.

One of our teammates, Shravya, is a blind individual who brought this problem to the team. As an intervention, we introduce Alba, a biodegradable, tactile wipe that empowers individuals who are blind or visually impaired to discretely, safely, and independently identify the onset of their period.

Alba is a fabric-based solution composed of several layers. The first layer, which directly contacts the user, is a cotton fabric coated with chitosan. Beneath this layer, there are cotton pockets that contain plaster for providing tactile feedback. Chitosan, a biomaterial used in Alba, causes blood coagulation, preventing it from permeating the fabric. However, other bodily fluids like vaginal discharge or urine can pass through the fabric and react with the moisture-sensitive plaster layer below. This reaction causes the plaster to solidify, resulting in the user perceiving tactile feedback. Alba aims to promote autonomy, equality, and dignity for menstruating individuals with visual impairment, reducing limitations imposed by periods.

One of our teammates, Shravya, is a blind individual who brought this problem to the team. As an intervention, we introduce Alba, a biodegradable, tactile wipe that empowers individuals who are blind or visually impaired to discretely, safely, and independently identify the onset of their period.

Alba is a fabric-based solution composed of several layers. The first layer, which directly contacts the user, is a cotton fabric coated with chitosan. Beneath this layer, there are cotton pockets that contain plaster for providing tactile feedback. Chitosan, a biomaterial used in Alba, causes blood coagulation, preventing it from permeating the fabric. However, other bodily fluids like vaginal discharge or urine can pass through the fabric and react with the moisture-sensitive plaster layer below. This reaction causes the plaster to solidify, resulting in the user perceiving tactile feedback. Alba aims to promote autonomy, equality, and dignity for menstruating individuals with visual impairment, reducing limitations imposed by periods.

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