BANANA ARMOUR

CERN x RCA GRAND CHALLENGE FINALIST

Client: CERN, Switzerland

 

What they do: A centre for scientific research. The birthplace of the World Wide Web and the Large Hadron Collider.

The brief: Generate innovative approaches that exploit the most exciting technologies from CERN and beyond to create a compelling new solution for a grand challenge tackling social and/or economic disparity.

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IN SHORT:

Banana Armour tackles hunger disparity in Africa by reducing food waste through providing an accessible cold-chain supply service.

By exploiting the material properties of discarded crisp packets to preserve food and given their current status of being unsuitable for recycling, Banana Armour is a simple pleated wrap that cushions and cools bananas, a staple but threatened crop in Africa, providing optimal travelling conditions on their way to market, helping bring more food to the table.

 

As an organisation Banana Armour would consult with different locations to identify those struggling to earn an income for training and employment.

MY MAIN CONTRIBUTIONS: 

Research to establish design direction, materials research and testing, prototyping (low & high fidelity), service structure creation.

KEY THEMES:

Objected-orientated Ontology, physical prototyping

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THE PROCESS

DESIGN DIRECTION:

 

Our analysis of CERN's technology:

 

Inspired by the World Economic Forum's global risks interconnections maps and the key goal of the United 0. UN and FAO we decided to focus on the food crisis.

With further desk research, the following intervention points were identified.

INITIAL IDEA: 

CHALLENGES TO IDEA:

  • How does this differ from existing cool-box solutions?

  • Would a micro-grid be a barrier to entry in a developing country?

SO HOW DO CRISP PACKETS, BANANAS, BIKES AND CERN RELATE?

On receiving social media adverts such as these, we become interested in crisp packets abilities to preserve food and found that CERN used crisp packet technology to design the Better Body Bags.​

Humans, to a certain extent, play a small role in the life of a crisp packet, perhaps collectively on average 5-10 minutes while buying, carrying around and consuming the crisps, rarely focusing on the packet itself.

 

Manufactured by machines, where are we when they sit in the cupboard waiting to be opened, or as they lie in the bin along with the other rubbish? Along with other rubbish, crisp packets are dumped in landfill overseas, threatening their wildlife and natural environments.

ABILITIES AND CAPACITIES OF CRISP PACKETS:

Source: Pixabay

DESIGN DECISIONS:

Given that we wanted to improve disparity with food, we decided to pick a staple crop in Africa - bananas. This made it especially interesting as on transportation to market, banana stems don't fit in the traditional cool-boxes.

REQUIREMENTS:

 

  • Bananas should be kept between 13-18 degrees to prevent over-ripening post harvest

  • Lack of cooling method and facility to store the produce after harvesting

  • Multiple bananas stems often tied to the back of bicycles

  • It could take farmers up to 8 hours to reach the market

Inspired by the resistance and flexibility offered by pleated structures we got prototyping: 

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

  • Methods with fewer applications of artificial fertiliser or chemical modification 

FOOD DISTRIBUTION

  • Logistics improvements to reduce the amounts of waste in the supply chain

  • Food surplus redistribution to those who go without

FOOD

SECURITY

  • Food preservation and storage to provide balanced diets

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When we consider what a crisp packet is, it’s...

  • litter

  • a barrier

  • cheap

  • brightly coloured

  • a world-traveller

  • loud

  • shiny

By looking at the material properties of a crisp packet, the affordances that crisp packets offer opened up opportunities.

After examining the properties of a crisp pack, we looked at other situations crisp packets find themselves in apart from carrying crisps, and there’s actually quite a few.

  • Jewellery and accessories

  • Clothing

  • Bricks and paving

  • Shelter for animals

  • Bursting balloon in a child’s hands

  • Shrunk victim of a microwave

  • Abandoned behind a park bench

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