This project designed to be entered into the 2018 RSA SDA brief “Eat Share Life” Which it won an has continued to be worked on and will be available for crowdfunding soon. Stay up to date at panpickle.co.uk/
More UK households have multiple generations living under the same roof, but kitchens are designed assuming fully able adults are their only users. The brief for this project was to design a kitchen component or product that would make kitchens more accessible to multiple age groups and abilities.
Fortunately Nottingham University’s human factors department has a relationship with a local retirement village, during this project many of us visited for interviews and prototype feedback.
An initial direction my research highlighted was looking at redesigning the kitchen hob. its geometry hasn’t changed since the invention of cast iron stoves over 200 years ago. I believed there was an opportunity to utilise modern induction cooking technology to modify the stovetop to be more inclusive.
This initially forged a path looking at different possible shapes and surfaces for the induction coils, improving energy efficiency and guiding pan placement. One experiment involved cooking a meal pretending a partially inflated hot water bottle was the heat source.
This experimentation lead to the realisation that users didn’t really care that a bowl shaped coil has a potential 30% improved coupling efficiency compared with the traditional pancake design. The real difference was adding support and a safe way to locate your cookware.
With this in mind it made sense to not replace the hob, but design something that could augment existing kitchens, massively reducing costs, and allowing for wider adoption of the product.
From there a lot or physical prototypes were produced evaluating the geometry and size of this guide. Making sure it was easy to clean, unobtrusive and suitable for common pan sizes. As well as making longer term tests for the material and adhesive for bonding to the glass hob.