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Undu: Wearable Menstrual Pain Mitigation

Undu is a wearable heat pack designed to mitigate menstrual pain. This beautiful, form-fitting device aims to be worn on an active body, providing discreet, comfortable, flexible pain relief.

What it does

Undu uses novel air-casting technology to create the world’s thinnest wearable gel pack that applies heat precisely where needed, so you can go about your day, pain relieved.


Your inspiration

Half of all people who menstruate experience persistent pain 1-2 days per month, often resulting in time away from school, work, and daily life. Current solutions for menstrual pain relief fall into two primary categories: pharmaceutical pain relief like Tylenol (patent: 1955) and the hot water bottle (patent: 1903). Unsurprisingly, the modern hot water bottle doesn’t wear well outside of the house. A historically underrepresented market for design solutions, we thought the menstrual pain market needed some innovating.


How it works

The Undu design leverages a unique injection air-casting process to address the global issue of debilitating menstrual pain. The process creates a super thin, well-structured packet that has ideal properties for use as a heat-transferring wearable. These properties include high thermal conductivity, high surface area-to-volume ratio, a soft, durable, and flexible parcel. Our platform technology can create Undu parcels in any planar form to be integrated comfortably into underwear on all body types. The internal branches contain thermal gel, but we are prototyping a phase-changing material that generates heat for up to 2 hours. By delivering heat directly to the skin, Undu can provide instant and invisible relief from menstrual pain. After the heating duration, the device can be easily removed and reset by running it under hot water. The biophilic, comfortable, and reusable product will cost less than $30 off the shelf.


Design process

As an undergraduate physics student Charlie discovered that fluids could spontaneously create fractals that looked just like tree roots and branches. He wondered why our manufacturing methods never make use of such a remarkable effect, even though biology does so ubiquitously. This interest turned into a collaboration with Graham McLaughlin, who joined the effort which eventually resulted in placing in the semifinals of The Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (2015), and a patented process (Katrycz 2019). But every idea needs a home. In 2018, architectural designer Katherine Porter and community organizer and educator Robin Linton set out to find a better solution to manage menstrual pain. Empowered by the empirical information of their survey and their vocational experience in inclusive product design, they began collaborating on the project that eventually turned an inventive process into an innovative solution.


How it is different

Our product has been designed by people who have lived experience of the problem that it aims to solve. Additionally, it uses a proprietary wearable heating technology that has created a low-cost, lightweight, form-fitting and effective solution. Other products on the market are positioned as more general heating pads, and whether using gels, electrical heating, or infrared, they all take inorganic shapes like rectangles and are not made to be portable. In addition, none of the products currently on the market have been marketed or even designed appropriately to address the complex nature of managing menstrual pain on a moving body.


Future plans

We will deploy dozens of prototypes to a diverse group of people who suffer from menstrual pain and use their feedback to adjust to their needs. We will explore efficacy on different body types, fit, and sizing options. We'll work closely with food-grade silicone injection-molding manufacturers to adjust established processes to our new methodology. We will optimize the production cycle to pass on savings to the consumer. After receiving viable products from our manufacturers, we'll begin a crowdfunding campaign to build our brand, better assess our market, and place our first order.


Awards

-Patent, Awarded April 2, 2019, US10245762B2. Method and system for integrating branched structures in materials -Global Semifinals of the worlds largest biotech startup competition, 2015 Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable


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