Kishor Munshi

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Faculty at IDC

Professor, IDC, IIT Bombay
Director, CTech Labs Pvt. Ltd. SINE IIT Bombay


- Dry-San Toilet System ......... (4.7 mb)
- Dry-San Toilet Brochure ......... (2.25 mb)

Open defecation is a severe problem that many developing countries are facing. There are about 2.6-3 billion people lacking proper sanitation. Children take the brunt of unsanitary conditions, which lead to epidemic diseases like diarrhoea /Cholera etc. The crisis is especially acute for girls. Many drop-out of schools once they reach puberty, just because of inadequate or non- existent lavatories.

Conventional flush water toilets and sewerage system are too expensive to build and maintain. Huge water requirements makes it unsuitable in water scarce areas. Valuable nutrients in human excreta are wasted and create undesirable pollution in water bodies where it is discharged. There is therefore a need to design and develop a simple and safe sanitation system which is cost effective and fits the need and the environment. The aim of the project was to look at all the available options and recommend a new design suited specifically to rural India, where open defecation and water scarcity is a problem. The project was supported by Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.

- Sensible to Sensual and Beyond ......... (307kb)

Fortunately or unfortunately, design can never leave anything alone, even if it is good enough. Design intervention is called for to effect change. Designers face dilemma, when confronted with good, judicious products, which they would have liked to leave alone, but cannot, because 'design' must be carried on. Incidentally, the above-mentioned qualities i.e., good, judicious, are meanings of the word – 'sensible'.

Design intervention can also lead to product qualities, which could be termed as sensational, so that the product says loudly that 'it has been designed'. In this case the design intervention is required to be very visible to the clients, as is required in advertising.

On the other hand, one may try to keep the sense in tact and yet go beyond to achieve a quality of subtle awareness in the product, which harmonizes well with the environment and also makes an individual statement, and create an aura of curiosity & mystery. One word that comes nearest to these qualities is 'sensual', which according to dictionary meaning is 'gratifying to the senses'.

In this paper the aspects of sensible, sensational and sensual attributes of products will be discussed, and investigate what 'sensual' means? Does it appeal to human emotion universally, and if so, what methodologies can be adopted to create sensual products.

This paper was written for conference on Design & Emotion held in Turkey in early 2000s. At the time of writing, the author was Professor & Head of Academics, at The Institute of Design, Oslo School of Architecture & Design, Oslo, Norway. Some of the examples are derived from the work carried out there.

- Innovation - Two Dozen Pointers......... (105kb)

Innovation has become a buzz word in India now. Everybody is talking about innovation and innovating. It is seen as a panacea for future growth and development. Many organisation have sprung up around this word, announcing flurry of innovation competitions. There is however some confusion regarding the word innovation. It is considered synonymous with invention, design, product etc. etc. It is usually forgotten that it is a disciplined process and needs fertile environment for it to happen. Just to bring a little clarity, I am herewith putting down 2-dozen points about what innovation is and what it is not. It is however not an attempt to condense hundreds of books written on innovation into a few lines. On the other hand it can be be considered as topics which need to be dealt and discussed in detail to be able to implement a programme of innovation.

- Electric Vehicle Design Initiatives in India & some Case Studies.......... (1.86mb)

The growing environmental consciousness and seeing the adverse effects of climate change, the governments in India are supporting initiatives for development of eco-friendly mobility solutions including electric vehicles. To offset the disadvantages of electric vehicles regarding
range, weight and charging time, efforts have to be made to orient the use of electric vehicles to niche situations and niche markets where these limitations can be leveraged by design. Confined spaces like airports, industrial campuses, gated communities lend themselves easily to vehicle electrification. When the technology does not offer major physical constraints as in electric vehicles in comparison to the traditional vehicles, design criteria will have to be predominantly use oriented - psycho-physiological, cultural, contextual and environmental. The physiognomy / aesthetics of electric vehicles can be and should be quite different from what we see today in cars or hybrid vehicles to depict the
uniqueness of this breed of products. Design case studies based on the above are discussed in this paper, which was presented at EVER11 (Electrical Vehicles & Renewable Energy conference) in Monaco.

- Composite materials in Modular Housing:
  Growing Design Potential & an Imperative Need in India
............ (1.77mb)

In the next 35 years, 3.5 billion people will need places to live, i.e. 3,500 cities with one million residents. Today, there are less than 300 cities of this size in the world. In the next 35 years,another 600 million housing units will be needed, more than exist now.

The growing human population adds to the ever-increasing demand for shelter. In addition to the existing housing shortage, India is facing the problem of sheltering people temporarily, affected by natural calamities such as the Gujarat earthquake or Tsunamis, and also for those affected by annual floods in various parts of the country. Shelter is also required for people displaced due to dam building and other development projects. Designing mass- produced housing and shelters with composite materials such as fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) can help alleviate the problem to some extent and at a faster pace. This paper discusses some of the initiative taken in this direction at IDC, IITB. The paper is published in JEC composites magazine / No67 August - September 2011. The project was funded by TIFAC, GOI.

- Design as a State Policy – Imperatives for India and other
  Developing Countries
............ (30.05kb)

Economic advantages of science and technology are derived through products; systems and services, which need to be designed and, only then are made available to the society.
A responsive design process therefore provides an appropriate link between science & technology and society to improve the standards of living and create means of employment and growth. It has to be recognised by the policy makers that design in collaboration with science and technology can do just that. Therefore design should form an integral part of any national policy of development which could appropriately be termed as "Science, Technology & Design Policy", to create a cross-catalytic impetus for development.

Note: This paper is written in early-nineties, some of the figures mentioned relate to that time.

- Workstation Design for VDTs
............ (3.07mb)

This paper was presented in 'ErgoDesign 84', conference in Switzerland, when computer usage was in its infancy. The paper highlights the factors responsible for bad postures, discomfort and fatigue. Some of these issues are still not addressed effectively by modern designs available in the market. The paper analyses cognitive and environmental factors, and offers insights for the design of a holistic ergonomic design.

- Chairs the human factor............ (1.08mb)

When man was a hunter-gatherer, standing walking,lying down were the predominant postures adopted by him for work and rest. He squatted while doing chores like drawing water from streams or lakes or while washing, eating, and defecating. The time spent on the activities during which he had to squat was very less. As he took to farming, and began settling down and interacting socially, the proportion of time for sitting and squatting gradually increased.

- Humanistic View of Things
............ (189 kb)

After the launch of Apple i-Pad, I thought I should dig into my archives and bring out the paper - Humanistic View of Things - which was written in early eighties, outlining some of my thoughts about 'humanising' computers. I am happy to share it again, as some of these ideas have now seen the light of the day. I am confident that other ideas mentioned therein will also get incorporated in newer and better humanised gadgets.

- Product and Rituals............ (74 kb)

Rituals are generally associated with dogma & irrationality. Very few attempts have been made to dispel the misconceptions and understand the positive facets of rituals. This article explores the relationship of rituals with material objects and its role in harmonising relationships between objects and human beings.

- Future Car Technology and Design: Perspectives and Directions...... (1.39 mb)

Hyun Jin Kim came to IITB as an exchange student from Rice University, She was working for her Major in Mechanical engineering and Minor in Art at Rice University. She expressed her desire to work with me on a short project and since we were working on the development of Mobility Design program, I asked her to work on Future car- Technology & Design.

- Characteristics of Design and its Implications on Design Education..... (3.88 mb)

Majority of the design professionals, have been so far working in the areas where cost of error is low. Now the cost of error is increasing with the use of new expensive technologies at all levels. How should the education and training of designers be revamped so that they are ready and fit to work in these high-risk areas and how well they can cope with the
problems of working as a part of a big design team?

Should the higher design education be different for different specialties or should it be totally broad based and common, or how much specialized and how much broad based?

Is the current design education system preparing the future generation of designers to tackle successfully the growing complexity of relationships between man and man-made objects and systems? If not, how it should change itself and that is the challenge.

(The above lecture was delivered at ICSID Education Congress at Seoul, Korea in 2001)

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