• 05.07.10

Stanford Students Prototype on the Cheap In “Extreme Affordability” Class

Continuing our peek inside the’s new building, a class that uses their classroom to build water filter concepts for rural Cambodia.

Stanford Students Prototype on the Cheap In “Extreme Affordability” Class

Our non-standard classroom lends to the creation and presentation of non-standard deliverables. This picture was taken after our first presentation of “rough prototypes” for the class Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability. Each team has to design comprehensive solutions for problems for the world’s poor. Our team is designing a water filter for schools in rural Cambodia. We traveled to Cambodia over spring break to observe the kids in their schools and understand their needs around water use.


We found that some of the primary challenges they face include lifting and transporting the water, understanding microbe transmission, and enjoying using a filter compared to the stream or a hand pump for water. We also wanted to find ways to transport and lift water in ways that
are social and/or engaging, like a pulley system for lifting water designed by Albert Lai. We are now trying to determine what path to take in designing an educational, functional, affordable filter.


After about a week’s worth of ideation and building we had our first round of prototypes, like this handwashing system for rural Africa demonstrated by Mick Kritayakirana and Kenneth Chua. The spaces are expansive and modular, allowing for great collaboration and co-creation. We built all of these quick prototypes to help us understand what direction to pursue next and what ideas to preserve and refine. Using the space, we demonstrated the functionality of each prototype in our presentation, and were able to project sources of inspiration on the screens behind us.

— Anisha Jain received a BS in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley and spent two years teaching 7th grade science with Teach for America before coming to Stanford.

— The Extreme team working on the Cambodia project is made up of an interdisciplinary group of graduate students. The presentation picture includes (L to R) Albert Lai, MS CS; Anisha Jain, MS Design; Danielle Garcia, MBA; Alexa Bisinger, MBA/MD; and John Cassidy (coach, co-founder of Klutz).

more about Stanford’s new building