Meet Urmi Mustafi and Mei Mei Tercek: two high school seniors and Nothing But Nets champions from California who recently attended the Women’s Technology Program (WTP) at MIT, a four-week summer program focused on sparking girls’ interests in engineering and computer science. Urmi and Mei Mei took this opportunity to combine their passions for service and mechanical engineering by creating their own design of an important tool in the fight against malaria—the bednet.
While bednets are traditionally hung from the ceiling over a bed, these students wanted to see if it was possible to create a deployable bednet with a flexible frame that could stand on its own and fold into a compact shape. Using a computer-aided design system, Urmi and Mei Mei evaluated a few different bednet shapes, taking into consideration important factors like size, cost, and convenience. After comparing their data, Urmi and Mei Mei found that the pyramid bednet was the optimal design for their project, due to its small surface area, low manufacturing cost, and smaller volume when folded. Talk about innovation!
Urmi and Mei Mei are inspiring examples of how anyone can use their talents in support of the fight against malaria. Whether you are a designer, an artist, an athlete, or are passionate about something else, everyone has a role to play in helping to defeat this deadly disease within a generation. We wish Urmi and Mei Mei the best of luck as they continue to research and innovate new ways to help save lives!