This research is being conducted by Dr Timothy Whitehead, a Lecturer in Digital Product Design at De Montfort University. Before joining De Montfort University, he completed a PhD at Loughborough University to investigate factors required for long lasting and effective product designed for Low Income Economies, the results have led to the creation of  the D-Tool to guide designers and NGOs. As an industrial designer, Timothy has been employed by the Centre for Vision in the Developing World working on the design of glasses for rural poor.

This experience provided a first-hand insight into the challenges faced when designing for these markets and highlighted how little is known about the optimum approach to design. Prior to this Timothy designed a portable water bottle which filters and sterilise water from any source in two minutes, using a combination of a custom filter and UV-C light, powered by a wind up mechanism. The design won a number of awards including; Dyson Award, IDSA IDEA Silver, Core 77 Award and Index: Design to Improve Life Finalist.