Above: The Arogya team at the 2020 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge March 5. From left to right: Bradie Ferguson, junior in Bioengineering, Pre-Med; Annie Fang, senior in Psychology; Anushri Ramanath (holding the prototype), junior in Bioengineering; Arnav Shah, freshman, intended major Bioengineering; Hienschi Nguyen, junior in Bioengineering.
(Photo Credit: Matt Hagen/UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship)
A team of UW bioengineering and psychology undergraduates are creating an electricity-free clothes washer and dryer that captured the attention of judges and two prizes totaling $9,000 at several design challenge competitions this spring.
The students, ranging from freshman to senior, are designing a non-electric all-in-one washer/dryer device, which provides households in low resource areas with an affordable way to wash, dry and disinfect dirty clothing. They call it Arogya (pronounced aH-rOw-Gya), a Sanskrit word meaning health and freedom from disease, which the team says summarizes their mission and wish for every person.
“We firmly believe that health and sanitation are human rights, and seek to provide every human on the planet with a means to improve their personal, community and environmental health – one piece of cloth at a time,” says team leader Anushri Ramanath, a bioengineering major who was a junior this spring.
Globally, five billion people hand wash their clothes, often in polluted rivers. Cross-contamination of clothing and water can cause skin irritation, bacterial infections and gynecological issues, and lead to water-borne diseases.
“We really wanted to focus on measures that could prevent disease,” says team member Arnav Shah, a freshman who hopes to major in bioengineering.
Team Arogya competed in three competitions hosted by the UW Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.
In March, they were selected and competed as one of 21 finalists in the Hollomon Health innovation Challenge, where they were able to refine their ideas.