The Period Cloud

Useful information

Team members
Maria Than Anna Tsuda Safiya Ahmed Bristy Azmi
United Kingdom
design creative technology periods menstruation period positivity period taboo stigma technology arduino interactive education period activism

Short Description

Period Cloud is an interactive printing machine providing a mix of information about menstruation.

Detailed Description

The Period Cloud provides factual, cultural and anecdotal information on menstrual health, period poverty, crowdsourced stories about anything period-related, and positive stories of menstruation across cultures and religions.

The user simply presses a button and learns something new about periods. Our aim is to encourage discussion around periods and to open up the conversation as much as possible to tackle the stigma and taboo around menstruation by educating the public on the topic. The receipt acts as a springboard for dialogue, or simply for the user to reflect on the content. This was a way for us to explore alternative and creative ways of delivering knowledge or engaging with our audience in discussing important social topics in public or community spaces.

The machine is made using a cloud shaped wooden box, 5 buttons, Arduino Uno, a thermal printer with receipt paper, an LCD screen and plastic labels. The interaction is coded using Arduino IDE.

Project Details

Does your design take social and cultural challenges and human wellbeing into consideration?

The project stems from our wider period education campaign 'Red Cloud Project', which is a free, online educational book teaching children aged 13-18 about periods through the lens of culture, religion, menstrual health, and more. Period taboo and stigma is a deep social issue which affects children and adults in all four corners of the world in varying degrees, from a lack of menstrual health education at school to the implementation of cultural and religious shaming against folks who menstruate, both resulting in illness and even death. The stigma can follow anyone from any age and can result in a perpetuation of the taboo as a vicious cycle, and one of the most effective ways to break the taboo is to simply talk about menstruation. The Period Cloud contains information directly from the book, as our aim was to explore new and alternative ways to present information in an interesting and digestible way.

The aim of the Cloud is to tackle the stigma around periods which is perpetuated through a taboo, a lack of discussion around the topic in both public and private spaces, especially in schools and at home. With its fun, innocent shape, the Cloud is an inviting object and creates a fun way of engaging both children and adults into the topic. The small receipt can also be easily stored by the user and can be kept as a small token once they have finished interacting with the object. In the future, our goal is to put up the Cloud in schools and public spaces such as at the entrance of museums and medical institutions, to invite anyone who wishes to discreetly know more about periods.

Does your design use principles of distribution and open source?

The design of the cloud along with its code will be published online for anyone to reproduce, also it uses basic Arduino components which can be purchased globally.

Ideally, the Cloud can be recreated locally and then implemented in different public spaces or schools, starting with the UK and then internationally. The contents of the cloud itself can be translated. This design has only been created once, as we do not have funding to produce more, however we are confident that with proper funding, we can create at least 10 clouds using a local makerspace in England and start implementing in various parts of the country, and anyone can have access to the information files and can contribute to the improvement of the content.