Tuli, the menstrual cup inspired by origami and tulips

UTC stu­dents Aux­ane Caseiro and Char­lyne Ker­jean won the nation­al James Dyson Award 2020 for design­ing Tuli, a tulip-shaped men­stru­al cup. Their goal? To democ­ra­tise access to these hygien­ic pro­tec­tions. We zoom in on this 100% fem­i­nine and 100% inno­v­a­tive project. 

How did your Tuli Cup project orig­i­nate? It began with a dis­ap­point­ing obser­va­tion made by the two stu­dents: “Today, there is no hygien­ic peri­od pro­tec­tion adapt­ed for women”, explains Aux­ane Caseiro. “Too expen­sive, poor­ly adapt­ed to our anato­my, some­times dan­ger­ous for health, and above all pol­lut­ing”. The sit­u­a­tion seemed bleak for the two indus­tri­al design stu­dents. So they decid­ed to car­ry out research on the sub­ject. “We dis­cov­ered that men­stru­al cups are the most suit­able devices for women,” con­tin­ues Char­lyne Ker­jean. “But when we looked more close­ly at this device and con­duct­ed a sur­vey of 1 344 women, we realised that there were prob­lems with fold­ing and use.” What were the prob­lems? The suc­tion cre­at­ed when the appli­ance is removed. 

So, in Feb­ru­ary 2020, the two young women decid­ed to look into this every­day object to try to find solu­tions. Long evenings of research, analy­sis and tests to build a pro­to­type dif­fer­ent from the cups already exist­ing on the mar­ket. By choos­ing to give their device a tulip shape, they have cre­at­ed a sys­tem that is eas­i­er to remove and there­fore more prac­ti­cal for its users. Last July, they decid­ed to be can­di­dates for the James Dyson Award, an inno­va­tion and design com­pe­ti­tion. “With the help of Anne Meuleau and Emmanuel Cor­bas­son, lec­tur­ercum-research work­ers at UTC, and Nico­las Piton, head of the pro­to­typ­ing plat­form at the UTC Daniel Thomas Inno­va­tion Cen­tre, and thanks to the long hours spent on the Face­Time video-con­fer­enc­ing chan­nel, which we spent in lock­down, we set up this new device for women. First in the form of an origa­mi, then in the form of a real prototype.” 

And their inno­va­tion proved attrac­tive. Last Sep­tem­ber, the two inven­tors won the nation­al com­pe­ti­tion prize ahead of dozens of oth­er par­tic­i­pants. “Three rea­sons explain the suc­cess of our two stu­dents in this com­pe­ti­tion, explains Emmanuel Cor­bas­son, Direc­tor of the Indus­tri­al Design Depart­ment of UTC at the time. First­ly, they put togeth­er a very rel­e­vant prod­uct to meet a need expressed by mil­lions of women all over the world. Sec­ond­ly, because it is a sub­ject not fre­quent­ly dealt with by engi­neers, which nev­er­the­less it remains a high­ly taboo top­ic. Final­ly, because it’s an eco­log­i­cal issue to which Dyson has been sensitive.“ 

I there a future for Tuli cups? First of all, the two stu­dents want to refine and enhance their pro­to­type and 3D print it in med­ical sil­i­cone for test­ing in real con­di­tions. “There might be a lot of changes com­pared to our usu­al pro­to­types,” Aux­ane antic­i­pates, “but it will be proof that our idea is a good one. “And who knows, maybe tomor­row they will be able to start their own busi­ness? “Why not, but for now, our goal is to have a prod­uct that works well,” con­cludes Char­lyne Kerjean. 

Le magazine

Juin 2023 - N°60

Une recherche tournée vers un avenir soutenable

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