Designing products for use in developing countries presents a unique set of challenges including harsh operating environments, costly repairs and maintenance, and users with varying degrees of education and device familiarity. For products to be robust, adaptable and durable, they need to be ruggedised for environmental factors such as high temperature and humidity as well as different operational conditions such as shock and chemical exposure. The product characterisation and ruggedisation processes require specific expertise and resources that are seldom available outside of large corporations and elite national research labs. There is no standardised process since product needs strongly depend on the context and user base, making it particularly onerous for underfunded start-ups and academic groups. Standardised protocols that identify essential lab testing regimens for specific contexts and user groups can complement field-testing and accelerate the product development process while reducing costs. This article synthesises current methods and strategies for product testing employed by large corporations as well as defence-related entities. A technological and organisational framework for a service-for-fee product characterisation and ruggedisation lab that reduces costs and shortens the timespan from product invention to commercial launch in harsh settings is presented.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering