Lia, a diagnostics company that got its start in the Integrated Product Design (IPD) program, has brought its first product to market: a flushable, biodegradable pregnancy test.
Founded in 2014 by Bethany Edwards and Anna Couturier, two IPD students, and Sarah Rottenberg, adjunct assistant professor in the School of Design and the executive director, Lia’s flagship product has the dual benefit of being more discretely disposal and environmentally friendly than the standard plastic-encased pregnancy test.
Speaking to Bérénice Magistretti of Forbes after Lia’s first tests went on sale to the public, Edwards said, “If you think about it, a pregnancy test is only used for a few minutes but then sits in landfills for decades. So we decided to better match the product with its lifecycle.”
Lia was profiled in the Spring 2018 edition of Penn Engineering Magazine:
One of the most emotional moments of a woman’s life is finding out whether she is pregnant. But all too often, the stress associated with taking a pregnancy test is compounded by the fact that it can end up in the trash where it could be seen by others. Moreover, currently available pregnancy tests add two million pounds of plastic and digital waste to U.S. landfills every year. Finding a solution to this two-pronged problem became a passion for Anna Couturier (IPD’14) and Bethany Edwards (IPD’14) when they were students in Penn’s master’s program in Integrated Product Design.
“We became interested in designing temporary products to be completely biodegradable, in order to match their life cycles,” Couturier says. “We also noticed that there had not been any innovation to the form factor in pregnancy tests since they were first introduced. Another goal was to deliver a pregnancy test that would impact the way individuals view pregnancy testing and offer a more private experience for women.”
To address these challenges, the duo founded Lia Diagnostics in late 2014, along with Sarah Rottenberg, adjunct assistant professor in the School of Design and the executive director of the Integrated Product Design program. In just 1.5 years, the team developed the first and only flushable, biodegradable pregnancy test.
Painstaking research on innovative water-dispersible materials and tireless prototype testing led to the development of a revolutionary coating that allows Lia to repel water long enough for a woman to take the test, then break down easily when flushed. The easy-to-use, environmentally friendly test, which is made of the same natural plant fibers as most toilet paper, is proven to be more than 99 percent accurate.
Read more about Lia’s origins in “Engineering Enterprise: A Three-Pack of Start-Ups,” by Janelle Weaver in Penn Engineering Magazine.
Continue reading “Lia Launches Its FDA-Approved, Flushable And Biodegradable Pregnancy Test On The Market” by Bérénice Magistretti at Forbes.