The Problem

Most household products are designed with the assumption that their users will all be able-bodied people. This leaves amputees, paralytics, and people with temporary but debilitating injuries with no choice but to improvise ineffective solutions. Good design has the power to redefine this experiences. How can we improve the home for all people?

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Getting Inspired

In deciding the direction for this project, I drew inspiration from three different sources. 

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My dad, Martin Terminel, was diagnosed in September 2001 with multiple sclerosis, a neurological autoimmune disease that caused the eight-week paralysis of his left hand. Seeing his struggle with even the simplest tasks opened my eyes to the difficulties of living with a disability.

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Of the top ten categories identified as most difficult, nine of them were identical between one-handed and two-handed people. According to the research, that means the issue isn't with the consumer, it's with the item they are trying to open or use.

– Kelley Styring, founder of One-Handed World, an organization that advocates for user-centered design, specifically for those who only use one hand in their day-to-day lives.

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Sam Farber, founder of OXO and a prolific industrial designer. His philosophy around design is all about creating products that are comfortable for people with arthritis without specifically making them "arthritic" products. His approach avoids marginalizing those who stand to benefit most.

 
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The National Disability Authority's Principles of Universal Design guided my design process. I wanted to create a solution that would require fewer physical resources to use, making it easier for everyone to use. Moreover, I wanted to identify the problems that those with limited arm mobility experience daily. I decided to undergo a day using only my right arm. One of the most difficult tasks I found was the act of bracing, chopping, and transferring vegetables from a cutting board to a pan.

 
 
 
 
 
This biaxial map represents my target in creating a product that is both assistive and aesthetically appealing.

This biaxial map represents my target in creating a product that is both assistive and aesthetically appealing.

 
 
Initial sketches were created with the intention of exploring a variety of different directions.

Initial sketches were created with the intention of exploring a variety of different directions.

A second round of sketches focused my efforts on detailing an articulating cutting board.

A second round of sketches focused my efforts on detailing an articulating cutting board.

 

Testing Ideas

Simple fold

Simple fold

Bifold

Bifold

Bifold with skewers

Bifold with skewers

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CAD Drawings and Models

The following models were created using Rhino3D and rendered in Keyshot.

 
All measurements notated above are in mm.

All measurements notated above are in mm.

How It Works

Stabilize the meat or produce by placing it on the skewers

Stabilize the meat or produce by placing it on the skewers

Chop the ingredients, working around the skewers

Chop the ingredients, working around the skewers

Flex the cutting board and pour out contents into a bowl or pan

Flex the cutting board and pour out contents into a bowl or pan