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Jugaad Assistive Technology

This project uses ‘Jugaad’ principles to explore low-cost Assistive Technology (AT) solutions for people with disabilities in the Global South.

Project lead: Heath Reed, Andy Stanton

Funded by: Research England

Partners: Ativa Design, Latika Roy Foundation  

The project considers notions of necessity being the mother of invention in relation to Assistive Technology (AT) for people with disability. In poorer communities, people often invent creative solutions using found and low-cost materials, repurposed and recycled objects and products to address unmet need.


In Hindi, the word Jugaad is used to describe ‘a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way’.

Across the developing world people use Jugaad approaches to solve everyday challenges of mobility. Examples include increasing, maintaining or improving functional capabilities or providing personal protection.  

In this project, the team explored how people living with motor neurone disease (MND) in the Global South deal with everyday challenges. They then brainstormed potential, new, low-cost solutions. The team then considered wider communities experiencing disability and poverty.

Documenting solutions on the street

We commissioned four photographers to document ‘on the street’ how people solve their individual challenges in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Staff from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in India which provide low-cost product-based solutions for children have been interviewed. Insights so far into motivation, techniques and capability are rich and varied.  

The resulting data set will be used to identify common deficiencies in AT provision, to provide a shared problem-solving resource, and to prompt new, lower cost product solutions for communities in need.  


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