KARA hero image

7 months

Modular floating pontoon kit

Equipment to assists government authorities in mass evacuation of people in flooding and water logging situations in densely populated cities.

Service Design
Industrial Design
Systems Thinking
User Research
Bachelor Capstone Project


Project Context
Seven-months design research Bachelor's capstone project conducted at Nottingham Trent University.
Tools Used
Rhinoceros, CATIA, Cinema 4D, Octane Render, Keyshot, Blender, Zotero, Miro, Obsidian, Adobe Creative Suite, Asana, ResearchRabbit, Litmaps, Connected Papers, Google Forms, Google G Suite, Microsoft Office, Otter, Zoom
Research Methods
Mixed Methods Research, Literature Review, Surveys, Interviews, User Behaviour Analysis, Observational Analysis, Affinity Mapping, Competitive Analysis, and more.
Ideation Methods
Brainstorming, Crazy 8, Daydreaming, 6-3-5, Idea planner, SCAMPER, Morphological Analysis

Problem Space

The absence of efficient, ready-to-use flood equipment for quick mass evacuations during flood emergencies in densely populated cities like Mumbai poses a significant risk to human lives and property. This lack of immediate and safe transportation in response to rising water levels during floods results in loss of life, delays, and complications among other things. This inadequacy in disaster preparedness and response infrastructure underlines the urgent need to address the issue, ensuring the safety and survival of the community during flood emergencies.


Implementation of a responsive, deployable modular floating pontoon system for evacuation during flood emergencies. This robust system, designed for swift and safe transportation during unexpected water level rises, could mitigate the risks involved in cities like Mumbai (dense population). Integrating this solution into the current disaster management framework could substantially elevate the emergency response capabilities, ultimately ensuring increased safety and survival chances for communities during flood-induced crises.

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Design Process

My journey began with establishing a comprehensive strategy and project plan before diving into the design and development phase. Utilizing this roadmap, I adopted a human-centred design approach to identify problems and uncover opportunities in developing a unique flood response mechanism.

The process was initiated by understanding the recurring problem of flooding, followed by meticulous user interviews and literature study. A multitude of concepts were generated based on research and user inputs. These ideas were made into 3D models and mockups. Both digital & physical prototypes were subjected to thorough testing to optimize material use, manufacturing processes, product usability & ergonomics. The process concluded with introspection on project limitations and brainstorming future developmental directions.

Research Methodology

My Design Process follows a sequential Mixed Methods approach, where I combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. It starts with strategic planning using project management tools like Asana to schedule and keep track of all project phases.

In the research phase, I use secondary research techniques, including literature reviews, examination of government plans, case study analysis, and exploring relevant news articles, vlogs, documentaries and forecasting applications. This is followed by analyzing data collected to gain a broad understanding of the situation and context.

Next, I conducted primary research involving qualitative and quantitative methods; qualitative methods include one-to-one interviews, phone call interviews, group discussions, user behaviour analysis, and observational analysis. Quantitative methods consist of online surveys and polls. The findings are synthesized using affinity mapping and record keeping, providing a comprehensive, multifaceted understanding of flood situations.

Future of Mumbai by 2050

In my research, I utilized secondary sources to delve into various questions related to floods. This encompassed understanding the causes and types of floods, identifying flood-prone regions in Mumbai, and examining the effects of flood emergencies. I sought to comprehend how weather forecasting works, a critical aspect in predicting and managing floods. I further analyzed the impacts of flood disasters, touching upon physical, social, and psychological dimensions.

I also endeavoured to learn about the strategies people employ to survive during flood emergencies and scrutinize the demographics and statistics of flood disasters.

Future of Mumbai by 2050

Mumbai major flooding reasons

Surveys and Interviews

The primary research encompassed two primary stakeholder groups: the government authorities and the general public.

In total, there were 228 participants, comprised of 174 online survey participants and 54 field interview participants (4 from authorities and 50 from the general public).

A range of methods were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data from the general public, including online surveys and polls. Individual interviews involving government authorities served as a forum for comprehensive observation and meticulous data collection. Interactions with government officials offered a unique perspective on the functions of government, their objectives, challenges, future plans, and their perception of public responses in everyday and emergency situations. These semi-structured interviews were guided by responses, resulting in more relaxed interviewees and richer insights. When face-to-face interviews were not possible, phone interviews were a suitable substitute. Group discussions proved advantageous, offering diverse viewpoints on the same scenario. Observations from interviewees, both those affected by floods and those unaffected, yielded vital insights into behavioural patterns.

Record-keeping was integral to the process. Consent was obtained for audio/visual recordings of interviews, which later fed into affinity maps. In cases where interviewees were uncomfortable with such recordings, traditional note-taking was employed as an alternative.

Field Study

In the course of individual interviews, I visited numerous flood-prone areas in Mumbai to directly observe and comprehend the difficulties faced by people. The following pictures were taken during my visits.

For safety reasons, I avoided visiting the flood zones during the actual monsoon season. Instead, I requested my interviewees to share any pictures they were comfortable providing. This approach helped me comprehend the severity of the situation.

During a visit to the Kurla Fire Brigade, I had the opportunity to learn about some of the existing products utilized in flood situations.

User Persona

A persona is a representation of a target user, crafted to guide the design process by considering their needs, behaviours, and goals. Personas are pivotal in helping designers to empathize with their users, leading to more user-centric and efficient designs.

I developed personas that symbolize diverse sectors of Mumbai's local communities, each facing distinct challenges. I categorized these personas based on their professions/occupations and roles during disasters.

These personas aren't just theoretical hypotheses but are grounded in real data sourced from interviews and surveys. The goal is to use these authentic experiences to guide more informed and relevant design decisions.

Data Analysis

For my data analysis, I utilized the affinity mapping technique. This method helps manage and analyze intricate data, typically in a collaborative environment, by clustering related pieces of information or ideas based on shared characteristics. The following visual diagram was created from physical post-it notes for better comprehension.

Research Insight

Design Direction


After narrowing down the topic to transportation in disaster situations,  I employed various ideation methods that were chosen to help generate a wide variety of creative solutions.

First, I initiated this with a brainstorming session with my cohort where we wrote down and collectively discussed ideas, emphasizing the inclusivity of unconventional options.

Brainstorming: In-session

Individual Brainstorming Session

Then came the Crazy 8 technique. This rapid ideation method challenged me to sketch eight different ideas in just eight minutes. While the ideas created during this stage were brief, they often sparked crucial concepts for the overall project.

Crazy 8: In session

The 6-3-5 method, also known as Brainwriting, was another method I used. Here, I would sketch three ideas in five minutes, then pass them on to the next participant for inspiration, and so on. This chain of idea exchange stimulated creativity and helped in the cross-fertilization of ideas.

Next, I employed the Daydreaming method. By letting my mind wander freely, I could come up with creative solutions that may not surface under more constrained thinking. This method pushed me to consider unique, outside-the-box solutions.

Finally, I utilized the idea planner method. Here, I took all the ideas generated from the brainstorming session and organized them into a structured layout, categorizing them based on their relevance and feasibility. This helped me to maintain a clear focus on the objective while bringing some much-needed structure to the chaotic brainstorming results.

Each ideation method was strategically utilized to optimize my creative process, resulting in a wide spectrum of potential solutions. By combining both structured and freeform ideation techniques, I was able to thoroughly explore and develop ideas based on the insights gleaned from my research.

Ideation Analysis (Pros and Cons)

There are several ideas to assist during flood events, each with distinct advantages. Raised walkways could provide safe passage in flooded areas, and gumboots can enhance individual mobility. Temporary solutions for potholes and the detection of obstacles can improve safety. Floating discs and buoyant bag attachments can aid in personal flotation and carrying essentials. Emergency communication products like sirens or information boards can convey urgent information.

However, some of these ideas present challenges. Raised walkways and temporary fillings for potholes could be expensive and hard to deploy quickly. Detecting obstacles may require advanced technologies and could pose reliability issues. Floating discs might be insufficient for non-swimmers, and buoyant bag attachments must protect contents from water. Emergency communication devices must be weather-resistant and with backup power. Social media apps, though useful, depend on the internet and electricity, which may fail in severe floods.

In conclusion, these ideas show promise but need careful evaluation of feasibility, effectiveness, and potential drawbacks. An integrated approach with a robust disaster management system would likely be most effective.


I conducted a product benchmark analysis to evaluate and compare my design ideas' performance, features, or quality against competitors or industry standards, facilitating informed decisions and continuous improvement.

In the benchmarking process, Venice's raised walkway system offers a pertinent case study. Utilizing wooden planks and stainless steel, assembled by local authorities, it requires five to six people per setup. Though manufacturing additional parts is quick, Mumbai's uneven roads and strong currents present challenges, necessitating modifications for local implementation.

Floating pontoons, made of HDPE and stainless steel, present a potential solution. They are durable, less labor-intensive, and lighter, often requiring only one or two individuals for assembly. Supporting about 350 kg per square meter, they are a robust option originally designed for large water bodies but adaptable for floods. The low maintenance and easy assembly of these pontoons make them a noteworthy reference.

The mechanism involves 1ft x 1ft cubes, connected using standard hardware, with alignment markings. Quick assembly in flood situations, however, might pose challenges.

Floating Pontoons Competitors:

Vari Pontoons, India | OTTO, made in Italy | BullDock, made in Italy | Rent a float by Europonton Gmbh | Zhejiang Zhongyi | Industrial Co., Ltd, China


Anthropometric data was utilized to determine the product's size, shape, and form. The anthropometric dimensions for each population are ranked by size and described in percentiles. The dimensions corresponding to the 95th percentile are taken into consideration. Below are the anthropometric data for the Raised Walkway (Chakrabarti, 1997).


Conceptualization is where I shaped ideas into tangible concepts, guided by research insights, ideation methods, benchmarks, and anthropometric data. Using tools like SCAMPER and Morphological Analysis, I refined these ideas, identifying unique combinations and adaptations. This process helped to refine a set of concepts, paving the way for the process of exploratory sketching and 3D modelling.

SCAMPER method

An acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse, was instrumental in my design process. It enabled me to critically analyze and refine ideas, pushing the boundaries of creativity. This method was vital in uncovering innovative concepts and expanding the range of possibilities.


Morphological Analysis

After using the SCAMPER method, I performed Morphological Analysis. This method was pivotal in my conceptualization process, as it enabled a systematic breakdown of existing product issues and their components.

Morphological Analysis

Design Explorations

Concept Sketches

3D Model Exploration

Mockup Exploration


During the SWOT analysis, I examined various concepts to identify the product with the maximum possibility of solving the problem. The Floating Walkway with Two-Level Joinery was selected for further development. The following diagrams represent the SWOT analysis of the final four ideas.

Final Product

Kara 108RG - Build it | Float it | Walk it

Modular floating pontoon kit, which assists government authorities in mass evacuation of the general public in flooding and water logging situations in densely populated cities.

Product concept animation

Product Kit

This kit consists of a total of 12 individual parts. The materials used in the making of these parts include high-density polyethylene, 3-strand nylon line, stainless steel, and concrete.


The product is modular in design, primarily made of HDPE material which ensures a long lifespan of up to 15 years. It comes in safety colors, making it both noticeable and safe. Not only is it durable, but it's also lightweight, which makes it easy to assemble. Users will appreciate the reduced assembly time, the minimal manpower required, and the lower maintenance demands. Additionally, it boasts an impressive load capacity of 350kg per square meter.


Product Renders

User Scenario

Material and manufacturing considerations

Material and manufacturing considerations play a crucial role in ensuring the reliability, robustness, and adaptability of products in disaster situations. The core of these considerations lies in the selection of the appropriate material, complemented by effective manufacturing processes.

The material of choice, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), boasts properties such as a high strength-to-density ratio, and resistance to impact, weather, and chemicals. These characteristics render HDPE an ideal choice for products designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, especially in flood disaster zones. HDPE promises durability and longevity for up to 15 years. Additionally, the material's high load capacity and the ability to shape into modular, easily assembled units meeting safety standards enhance user safety and product effectiveness.

For manufacturing, Extrusion Blow Molding and Rotational Molding techniques have proven to be effective. Extrusion blow molding is particularly suitable for crafting hollow objects since it provides excellent control over product thickness, a critical aspect in meeting load capacity and durability specifications.

Contrarily, rotational moulding excels in producing large, hollow parts and could potentially be employed for the larger modules of the product. This technique ensures consistent wall thickness and robust construction, thereby fulfilling the product's long lifespan requirement.

Both processes are scalable, catering to the potentially high demand for the product in flood disaster areas. This scalability ensures that, during disaster situations, production can be swiftly escalated to meet the immediate needs.

Award & Recognition

Most professional project award (2020) at Pearl  Academy

Prototypes for Humanities

“KARA108RG”  was showcased in Prototypes for Humanities (Global Grad Show) as a part of Dubai Design Week.

The KARA108RG project falls within the trend of "Saving and Protecting Vulnerable Lives."

Out of 1,600 graduation projects submitted from 270 universities across 60 countries, KARA108RG was selected as one of the 100 shortlisted projects for the showcase.

I was also fortunate to engage in an enriching conversation with London-based design journalist Caroline Roux and to be included in her curated list for the Global Grad Show.

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