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Schmitt Design Proposal

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  • 1. Blind Ambition Research Proposal by Matthew Schmitt Blind Ambi A research project aimed at finding an opportunity to design an object or system to enhance the cooking experience for the visually impaired. Table
  • 2. Blind Ambition Project Summary Cooking Blind While cooking is not exactly a high risk activity, the kitchen is not without its hazards either; just think about open flames, red-hot pan handles and sharp knives. Imagine how difficult preparing and cooking a meal might be for the visually impaired. This simple everyday activity requires more maneuvering of objects than most often realize, with most tasks requiring some sort of visual context. With more than 25 million Americans experiencing significant vision loss, there is clearly an opportunity to improve the cooking experience for the visually impaired. By studying the specific hardships and challenges, inabilities, and adaptations blind individuals have made in order to cook, I will be able to develop a series of products or a system to enhance the cooking experience for the visually impaired. Blind Ambition Table of contents
  • 3. Table of contents Blind Ambition Research Blind Ambition Overview My initial research has shown that the visually impaired have an enormous desire to cook, but can often have a very difficult time performing even the simplest of tasks in the kitchen. Learning how to use basic kitchen tools or appliances and becoming familiarized with the kitchen and its surroundings are just two things that are nearly impossible for the visually impaired without aid. Once familiar with the kitchen, there is still a host of routine tasks that can still be extremely difficult to a person who is visually impaired. Shopping for ingredients, identifying ingredients, measuring ingredients, pouring, food preparation, knowing when meat is thoroughly cooked, cleaning up, and overall kitchen organization are all tasks that are relatively simple but require some sort of adaptation on the part of the blind individual. It is these problem tasks and adaptations that I am focusing on, as they will lead to fruitful opportunities for design and innovation.
  • 4. Blind Ambition Support Team Allan Golabek Tel 203 - 770 - 5211 Email: Almassage1@Comcast.net Allan Golabek is an older blind individual who really enjoys cooking and is very comfortable in the kitchen. By observing Allan, I have discovered how he has adapted and how he has modified his surroundings to facilitate the cooking process. Alex Snow Tel 203 - 426 - 8003 Alex Snow is a blind 22 year old recent college grad who has almost no experience in the kitchen. Teaching Alex how to cook proved to Blind Ambition be extremely valuable since any difficulties he had became extremely evident. Table of contents
  • 5. Table of contents Blind Ambition Support Team Blind Ambition Cooking Class at Perkins School for the Blind Rick David John At the Perkins cooking class, it was unanimous that both Pouring liquids and Measuring were the most difficult tasks for a blind person. Not far behind ranked cleaning and plugging devices into outlets.
  • 6. There are many talking products such as Blind Ambition talking thermometers, talking scales, talking Research timers, and talking measuring devices. Tools The PenFriend. This device uses an electronic eye to read a small sticker, much like a bar code reader. Each sticker has a different ‘fingerprint’ which the pen associates with a specific message. This device can be used to label and identify files, cds, clothing and foods. Food Bumper. Designed to keep food from sliding off the plate while eating. An electronic Braille display connects to Blind Ambition a computer and allows the user to read what appears on the computer screen. Table of contents This technology can be used for reading recipes in the kitchen, however most blind individuals prefer to use a simple hand-held voice recorder.
  • 7. Table of contents This device is commonly referred to as a Blind Ambition “say when.” It hangs over the edge of a Research Blind Ambition glass and beeps when the liquid being poured reaches a certain level. However, most blind individuals prefer to use the change in sound or weight to identify how Tools much liquid is in a glass. This product is a knife guide designed to aid the user in cutting even slices. Most found this product difficult to use since the guide hung below the edge of the knife, preventing the knife from cutting all the way through the food. This is a timer with braille indications marking the time increments. Most blind individuals prefer to use digital talking timers instead. This is a “Pot Watcher.” When placed inside a pot, it is designed to move around and make a rattling sound when the pot begins to boil. Most blind individuals have no need for this product because they can tell when a pot is boiling by the sound the bubbles make.
  • 8. Research Cooking Process Three Steps: Preparation Cooking Cleaning
  • 9. Table of contents Blind Ambition Research Blind Ambition Preparation Food preparation encompasses all tasks performed prior to cooking. Tasks include identifying and locating ingredients, measuring, cutting, pouring, and mixing.
  • 10. Blind Ambition Research Cooking The act of cooking is the use of an oven, stove, grill, or other kitchen appliance to cook the food. Common problems with cooking include the manipulation of hot objects, knowing when meat is fully cooked, stirring, spilling, pouring, measuring, plugging in electric appliances, and operating product interfaces. Blind Ambition Table of contents
  • 11. Table of contents Blind Ambition Research Blind Ambition Cleaning The act of cleaning includes washing food, cleaning dishes, cleaning work surfaces, putting dishes away, and storing away excess food items. Common problems with cleaning include knowing when something is clean or dirty, leaving behind a mess, spilling, knocking objects over, cutting oneself on sharp dishes, and pouring leftover food into a container.
  • 12. Blind Ambition Analysis Design Opportunity After studying the challenges involved with food preparation, cooking and cleaning, I found a design opportunity in Pouring and Measuring since it is a common problem in all steps of the cooking process. Blind Ambition Table of contents
  • 13. Table of contents Blind Ambition Analysis Blind Ambition Pouring The act of pouring seems quite simple, but to someone who has lost their vision it is a much more complicated task involving many different factors. “I have no idea when it begins to pour.” “Is it just spilling all over the floor?” “I’m never sure I’m over the pan.” Blind individuals have difficulty knowing when a liquid begins to pour, knowing if they are pouring in the right location and knowing Problem how much or how fast something is pouring. Pouring can often be wasteful and messy, and often requires the individual to place their finger in the food.
  • 14. Blind Ambition Analysis Measuring For someone who has lost their vision, measuring can be quite difficult. Many recipes require a specific amount of certain ingredients, and the tools available for measuring are difficult for a blind individual to use. When the blind measure ingredients, the result is often an inaccurate measurement and a large mess. “I have to put my fingers in the food.” Blind Ambition “I can’t tell if I’m holding it level.” Table of contents Problems include identifying which measuring device is the right size, Problem identifying how far to fill a measuring cup, holding the device level, spilling, and wasting ingredients.
  • 15. Table of contents Blind Ambition Analysis Blind Ambition Measuring & Pouring Not only does cooking require specific measurements of some ingredients, it also requires a lot of measuring while pouring by gauging how fast something is pouring out, or how much is already in the food. Without your vision, it is very difficult to tell how fast something is pouring, or if it is pouring at all. Techniques for gauging how much of an ingredient is being poured: Placing fingers in the ingredient, Using weight, Using sound, Using time, Counting Most blind individuals gauge a measurement by sticking their Problem fingers in the ingredient they are pouring. This is often unsanitary, inaccurate, and messy.
  • 16. Blind Ambition Design Intent Pouring & Measuring The Problem Pouring and measuring ingredients is a challenge that the blind face in all three steps of the cooking process. My intent is to enhance the cooking experience for the visually impaired by developing a product or a system to help the blind measure and pour various items in the kitchen. Design Intent Develop a series of products or a system for measuring and pouring that blind individuals can use without needing to rely on years of experience, without having to rely on weight, time, or sound, and keeps fingers out of the food. Design Criteria The product must be: Accurate Identifiable Clean Durable Blind Ambition Safe Easy to use Table of contents Reliable Intuitive Functional
  • 17. Table of contents Blind Ambition Project Scope & Plan Blind Ambition Over the next twelve weeks, my goal is to successfully develop a product that eliminates the problems related to pouring and measuring in the kitchen. By identifying the root of the problem and developing numerous solutions, each addressing the constraints in the design intent, I will be able to produce a body of successful concepts. I will then push these concepts by building models and testing in the real world to narrow down and further refine these concepts into a final product. Ultimately, by focusing on an audience that is visually impaired, it is likely that any innovations that can enhance the cooking experience for them would benefit most sighted individuals as well.
  • 18. Blind Ambition Bibliography Blind Individuals Alex Snow Tel 203 - 426 - 8003 Allan Golabek Tel 203 - 770 - 5211 Email Almassage1@Comcast.net Professionals Debby Smith Individuals in the Perkins Perkins Elder Learning Center Cooking Class Tel 617 - 972 - 7643 John Email Debby.Smith@Perkins.org Rick David Laurie Gaines Admissions Director, Independent Texts Perkins School for the Blind Living Program www.perkins.org Tel 800 - 852 - 3131 ext. 216 Email laurie.gaines@carroll.org The Carroll Center for the Blind www.carroll.org/ Beth Caruso Perkins Community Living Services AFB Email CommunityLiving@Perkins.org (American Foundations for the Blind) www.afb.org Molly Campbell Assistive Device Center NFB Tel 617 - 972 - 7520 (National Federation for the Blind) Email Molly.Campbell@Perkins.org www.nfb.org Blind Ambition Laura Bozeman, Ph.D. Blind Net Program DIrector - Vision www.blind.net Table of contents Rehabilitation Therapy Tel 617.287.4385 Independent Living Aids, inc. Email Laura.bozeman@umb.edu Magazine
  • 19. Table of contents Blind Ambition Bibliography Blind Ambition Institutions/Programs Perkins School For The Blind 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA, 02472 ELC (Elder Learning Center) 45 Beechwood Avenue, Watertown MA Skills taught can include cooking, personal care, clothing care, home safety, reading & writing, handling money and walking indoors and outdoors. Assistive Device Center Designs and constructs such custom devices that help children lead rich and independent lives. Custom-made items meet the unique needs of individuals while being affordable, durable and attractive. The Carroll Center for the Blind 770 Centre Street Newton, MA 02458 617 - 969 - 6200 A private, non-profit agency which serves persons of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. Independent Living Program A twelve-week plus course to assist clients in achieving or maintaining personal independence. Vision Rehabilitation Therapy UMass Boston 100 Morrissey Blvd. Boston, MA 02125 617 - 287 - 4385