Heat and Dust: Designing Solutions on the Other Side of the World

Michael Graves and Rao Machiraju, Apple Computer

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 17, 1996


For the past year and a half, our group at Apple Computer has been investigating the role mobile computing might play in empowering the rural health workers of India. India provides preventive health care for its rural population of about 700 million people. At the village level, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives are the key mediators for all aspects of health care delivery. Our project aims at providing support tools, beginning at this village level.

The work on this project is best characterized as being at the intersection of learning, organizational change, computing technology and information systems. Our design philosophy is evolutionary in nature, is led by user needs based on task specific assistance, simplicity, and ease of access and use. Organizationally, our intention is to support people's work within the context in which they are working. Technically, our prototypes are built on a Newton 2.0 platform, with connections to desktop and server systems to come.

Clearly there are many ways to approach such an investigation. We will talk about our approach and address the following questions.

Our group's charter is to investigate the "any time-any place" learning paradigm and rapidly iterate proof-of-concept prototypes.


Mike Graves is a Senior Scientist in Apple Computer's Advanced Technology Group. He has researched, designed systems, and published in the fields of collaborative computing, computer supported learning and performance support, and moral philosophy. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of California, but, after a short career in academia, left to pursue his current career.

N. Rao Machiraju is a Program Leader in the Advanced Technology Group at Apple Computer, Inc. Rao's interests are in interactive technology, learning and information access. He has a Masters Degree in Public Health from California University at Northridge and holds a Doctorate in Instructional Technology from the University of Southern California. He studied general systems and information networks under a joint program of the United Nations Institute for Research and Training, the University of Stockholm and UCLA.


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