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Impoverished women are disproportionately burdened by water scarcity & its heavy load.

Anchor 1

The JerryCarry
eases that load 

This pack board product system is designed to aid the women that carry water over rough terrain in water-scarce regions. The JerryCarry does this by easing the physical pain of carrying such a heavy load, while keeping cost low by allowing people to use the water containers they already have and alternative materials for attaching objects.

After designing the pack board itself, my team and I set out to design around the production system. Knowing that humanitarian products are often modified or used for other means by the people that are provided them, we set out to imagine a system that would engage the user in the process and reduce cost.

Industrial Design Junior Studio

Winter 2018 | 6.5 weeks

Collaborative project by Grace Budgett, Audrey Levy, & Leah Bertucelli

My role: research, problem framing, prototyping, ideation and sketching, final model construction and photography, manufacture system ideation and illustration

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Problem Framing
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The dense weight of a full jerrycan (~40lbs) puts incredible strain on the body. Distribution of this weight is crucial to reducing impact on the body short and long-term. 

Water is heavy.

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On average, children start carrying water for their families at age 11 and adults will carry water until an advanced age, or until a family member can take over for them. 

Some bodies need extra help.

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How might we reduce the burden of carrying water in water-scarce
regions while adopting the typical practices of the culture?

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The HippoRoller has gained a lot of traction as a solution for water carrying. It's pushed like a stroller would be and does reduce strain on the body for many users.


However, many users have cited rough terrain as a deterrent for their use of the HippoRoller. Its design does not take into account rough terrain, hills, and the need for free hands.


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Existing Solutions

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The WaterWear backpack gains its shape from the water that fills it. The benefit of its design is simplicity, inexpensive manufacture and material, and contemporary aesthetics.


Despite this, the soft construction of its container lacks the structure needed for long-distance trekking. A rigid frame is required to balance heavy loads and distribute stress effectively. The material is also susceptible to wear and would be difficult to repair were it torn. 

WaterWear Backpack

Anchor 3

"I have a hard time finding the right balance of weight between my hips and shoulders, but ideally it is about 80% on my hips and 20% on my shoulders." 

Annika typically hikes for long distances with 30-40 pounds on her back, 15 miles at a time.

Why a pack?

Packs allow for the user to have hands free and mobility in rough terrain or on hills, packs - if designed correctly - can also bear a significant amount of weight while reducing stress on the body.




Primary Research

Annika values a pack that she can easily put on.


Annika outlined the essentials for a good pack:

- easy to swing on to the back

- structured where it counts (weight bearing)

- flexibility in the neck and hips

- room for her shoulders to move

- a chest strap to ease the weight on her shoulders

Summary Insights

Summary Insights


Persona: Dhikaya, mother of 3, Northern Kenya

She walks 6 kilometers a day with a jerry can.

She has chronic neck and back pain, despite the strength she's gained from years of carrying heavy loads.

Her children help with chores, taking them away from other activities, such as getting an education.

Scenario: On one particular day, Dhikaya's neck is feeling sore, and she wants to get some groceries on the way back from picking up water that day. She needs something to reduce the stress on her neck and wants to be able to carry her groceries on the same trip, so she doesn't have to go twice. 









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Initial Frame Exploration


What didn’t work:

- not enough back coverage

- contact with back


What did work:

- aeration through holes

- more flexible 


What didn’t work: 

- hard frame right up against back
would not allow for aeration 

- too rigid


What did work:

- conforms well to back

What did work:

- offset frame from back

- packframe would allow for lashing of multiple, oddly-shaped objects

- packframe: user can utilize existing jerrycan

- would eliminate need for padding

What didn’t work:

- wouldn’t allow shoulder movement

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What did work:

- sturdy, held weight comfortably with weight tests

- trampoline back and offset from back

What didn’t work: 

- too tall 

- many hard components = more cost & manufacturing process


What did work:

- trampoline back

What didn’t work: 

- complicated components increase costs & manufacturing processes 

- shelf unnecessary and didn't help with weight bearing

Weight Bearing Frame Prototypes

What did work:

- conforms well to back

- slightly flexible

- held weight comfortably w/testing

What didn’t work: 

- curved pack frame problematic

aeration with holes is limited

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Refinement Ideation

Three concepts around the pack board form.

Frame Evolution

Testing different bent-frame shapes revealed the most useful form

Jerry Carry Frame Evolution.png
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Refined prototype was intended to help us see how all
the components would fit together and to get a feel for the final form.

Final adjustments after testing this prototype:

- curving the shoulder straps more to account for female body 

- placement of aluminum rods to keep trampoline taught

- widening of the hip belt


Refined Form

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lateral stiffness aluminum rods keep trampoline taught and distribute weight to hips

ABS frame

dual-adjustable hip belt

adjustable ladder locks fasten trampoline, hip belt, and backpack straps to frame

Parts and Key Materials

Final Form

Final Form

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Anchor 6

The JerryCarry is minimally designed in order to accommodate for the needs of the user. End-users of the JerryCarry are not typical consumers; who they are and where they are from is vitally important in design for their every day.

People in water-scarce areas such as Kenya, India, Bolivia, and Ethiopia are industrious and need a product that allows for them to repair it with existing materials, adjust it in ways that adapt it to their surroundings, and can be passed down in their communities. 

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System Design

Allowing users to own the repair and craft of the product.

While designing the JerryCarry, my team and I began thinking about systematic designs that would allow for users to repair and create the product itself to provide a longer lasting solution. Research lead us to believe that this would be better in the kinds of places that the JerryCarry would benefit most. 


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Precious Plastic is a global community connected online by sharing knowledge, tools, and techniques for starting and building a plastic recycling workshop. This notion of sharing the files needed to make the right machines was our major inspiration, and we are using their model as a stepping-off point.

The Machines


Shredding machine


Compression machine


Injection machine

Extruder machine


The Location (Example)

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