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Making Cooking Safe for the Blind

A clever crock-pot uses induction technology and tactile design to solve a formidable design challenge.

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Menno Kroezen

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If you’re blind, cooking presents almost unlimited hazards: The open flames; the stove dials, which have almost no tactile feedback; errant handles, prone to tipping; the hot surfaces.

All of which would seem to make a cooking system for the blind an impossibility. But Menno Kroezen, a recent graduate of London’s Royal College of Art and the Design Academy at Eindhoven, Netherlands, still managed to create one. The design concept recently won a student award for human-center design.

Developed with the help of groups that assist the blind, the utensil is basically an ultra-safe hotpot, where all the usability cues are tactile.

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The pot and the hotplate would work via induction–meaning that the cooking surface remains cool to the touch, and heats only the pot. (Induction technology is becoming pretty common in high-end ranges.) Meanwhile, all of the outside edges of the pot are heat resistant, and also cool. To adjust the temperature, there are Braille guides on the cooktop, and the settings are adjustable by simply turning the orientation of the pot–basically like a big dial.

One of the virtues of such well thought-out ergonomics: The ease of use would also make the pot perfect for almost anyone with mobility impairments.

[Via Gizmag and Design Boom]

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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