Client: Barrier Buster (JD Skene)
Objective: Wheelchair Accessible Oven
The option of creating a wheelchair accessible appliance jumped out to me initially as the most fitting project for my portfolio. It fulfilled my desire to design an end-user product that would receive engagement on a daily basis. The idea of the balance between industrial and mechanical design was, to me, the best option because it satisfied the full spectrum of my obsession in product design. A deep dive into accessible design, accessibility requirements, and the day to day struggle of those disabled by society (people are disabled by societal systems favouring a “norm” – not by a lack of ability) taught me an empathetic approach to dissecting the needs of the end user.
Through market research, sketching, iteration, and deliberation, a well-thought, ergonomic work flow was decided on by team members. This included a touch interface to control actions of both appliances from a central touch control panel, a sink, adjustable stove height, a drop-down oven tray (the oven being a wall mounted appliance), a preset feature bringing both appliances to the same (Countertop for showcase – this is for the purpose of removing the need to lift anything from countertop to stove to oven) height to minimize lifting, and an induction burner to minimize burn risk.
From here, the concept prototype was modeled in CAD down to the 3D printed limit holders, motor mounts, and rail guides – 75+ unique parts in all. Full electronic schematics were created and executed and the Arduino-controlled (C, including Bluetooth Serial Connection, Ultrasonic Sensors, Motor Drivers, and 12-key Capacitive Sensor) electronics were installed. The wall was built and appliances were mounted in proper location through prior knowledge. Assembly challenges included balancing of weight of the stove for cantilever design (lead screw alignment), motor speed, incorporating induction burner controls.
User testing at the design show was an amazing experience. Guiding someone who could actually use the product through it, getting positive feedback, and validation for our well-intent was incredible. The feeling of putting my all into something I believe in is a feeling I want to chase for the rest of my career. It’s unlocked a drive to want to be the best I can possibly be at what I do. Most importantly, its solidified my belief that caring about the end user and having an empathetic approach is one of the best guidance systems in design. If you place yourself in their position, you’ll never want to do yourself wrong.
CAD Package: Click Here