The WE CARE Solar team is hard at work –optimizing the design and function of the solar suitcase. We went to Nigeria in July and brought back photos, room measurements, and surveys of the clinical activities conducted at 28 health facilities. This needs assessment allowed us to create specifications for our newest model of solar suitcase. Included in our wish list – lightweight durable solar panels, more battery storage, new lamp holders, and iconographic instruction manuals with fewer words. Our goals are ambitious, requiring a wide range of skills and manufacturing capabilities. We are so fortunate to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we have been able to draw upon local expertise from generous individuals and organizations who share our dream for safer childbirth.
For design help, we turned to Frog Design, where former Creative Director David Merkoski and and current Creative Director Michael DiTullo organized a daylong workshop with a team of enthusiastic engineers and designers. We tackled a number of issues including (1) how to improve the user experience of unpacking the solar suitcase, (2) easier ways to mount lights and solar panels, and (3) how to embed more educational material into our design. The FROG team was constantly in motion, depicting new concepts in a series of sketches that gradually covered the entire workshop wall. The day culminated in a brainstorming session focused on our mission and organizational road map. The day was enlightening, creative and fun, and gave us a lot of practical ideas.
To create a more optimal solar panel, we asked Charles Liu of Everbright Solar for help. Charles has been supplying WE CARE Solar with traditional glass/aluminum panels for years, and many of his products are dotted across our global map already. When Charles learned we needed a new lightweight panel for our mobile applications, he worked with our engineers to design a robust, portable, mono-crystalline panel that would exactly fit the dimensions of our case. Charles has dedicated countless hours to this task, working late into the night and on weekends.
Mike and Bill Hollibaugh of Holly Solar Products in Petaluma have been instrumental in helping us to create a rugged LED medical lights – bright enough to conduct surgery, waterproof, and virtually unbreakable! To test our new lights and select the best headlights to include with our suitcases, we are partnering with Frances Rubinstein and other scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley. The lighting team is helping us quantify the performance of our stationary and mobile lights.
We are so very grateful that these talented people have shared their talents with WE CARE Solar, helping us extend our capacity to best serve the needs of health providers caring for women and their families.
- How a yellow suitcase saves mothers and babies
- We Share Solar Winter Training preps youth for Solar Suitcase installs in Warmer Climates
- A day in the life of a Solar Ambassador…. by Merritt Eby Gates
- “Philippine Heroes of the Night” by Robin Lim and Laura Stachel
- Shining a Light on Healthcare Heroes
- Pedagogy of the Empowered – Notes from Solar Ambassador Merritt Eby Gates
- Princeton Day School Students Empower Distant Classrooms
- A New Light Shines on a Ugandan Maternal Health Center
- Shining a light on a Ugandan maternity center
- WHO Director-General lauds Solar Suitcase as “sunshine saving lives.”
- Notes from a Solar Ambassador – Merritt Gates
- Between Life and Death
- We Share Solar Launches at the Tech!
- We Share Solar at the Tech Museum of Innovation
- We Care Solar launches Successful Ambassador Program
- Integrated Solar Suitcase Wins the Gates/USAID ‘Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge’ Award
- UN Secretary-General: Solar Suitcase ‘Valuable’
- Malawi: Moving from Candlelight to Electricity
- The Golden Thread
- Powering Healthcare
- Hope in Afghanistan
- Solar Energy International and WE CARE Solar Seek Solar Suitcase Ambassadors
- Isha’s Dream – Lighting up lives in Sierra Leone
- Birthday Reflections
- SAFE in Uganda with the Solar Suitcase
- Power to Save Lives
- A Bright Light in Sierra Leone
- A World of Thanks
- The Color of Life
- Changing Lives….One Suitcase at a Time
- Passing the Baton
- Special Deliveries
- ABC News: Let There Be Light – World News’ Person of the Week
- ABC News Million Moms Challenge – Opinion: Let there be light
- ABC News Million Moms Challenge – Reporter’s Notebook: Light in Liberia
- WE CARE Solar wins the 2011 Tech Awards!
- Bringing Light and Improved Care to Somalia
- WE CARE Solar honored as 2011 Tech Award Laureate
- WE CARE Solar Suitcase headed to Somalia, Sudan, and India
- Collaborating “Outside of the Box”
- Stories from the Night
- Safe Deliveries – New Research Project in Nigeria
- Liberia – the power of light
- Father’s Day, WE CARE Solar Style
- What a difference a light makes…
- Mother’s Day Memorial – Evelyn’s Light
- Liberia “Light Up A Life” Project
- Coming Together
- Turning Work into Fun
- A Solar Suitcase Finds a Home in Kenya