Neeti Kailas

2014 Young Laureate, Science & Health
India, Born 1985

Project Goal

Increase screening of newborn babies for hearing loss

Location: India

“To me, design is about problem solving, and thinking about how I can have maximum impact on society. In a country like India, that’s never going to happen by designing the next lemon squeezer.”

While her classmates at India’s prestigious National Institute of Design (NID), in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, were creating stylish new versions of household products, or innovative fabrics, Neeti Kailas was redesigning the bedpan for India’s crowded public hospitals. The bedpan project sparked a passion to use design to transform health care in her native country. To this end, she has focused her attention on those who can be disadvantaged at the very start of their lives, newborn babies. There are over 100,000 babies born with hearing impairment in India, and, if this is not detected at an early stage, it can seriously impede the development of speech, language and cognition with a concomitant reduction in opportunity and quality of life. Kailas’s non-invasive, portable diagnostic device to facilitate routine screening of newborn babies has the potential to help many hundreds of children at a fundamental stage of their development.

Other 2014 Young Laureates