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A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

Posted March 31, 2022 12:00 AM
Pathfinder Tags: challenge question

This month's question is a bit different. Rather than a single specific answer, or set of answers, this one challenges your critical thinking.

You have been hired as a lead designer for a kitchen equipment manufacturer.

Your first task is to design a spice rack for blind people. The end user must be confident that they are getting the correct spice and measurement each time.

What are the design considerations? And is there anything notable about the manufacturing?

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#1

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

03/31/2022 1:04 AM

Voice activation with vibrating selection....you simply speak the name of the spice you want, the spice wheel turns and positions that spice container front and center, and that particular canister vibrates until you locate and press the button....the selector beeps for each 1/4 teaspoon selected, dispenses 1/4 to 1 teaspoon at a time..

Alternatively you could have buttons on top of each container that would say the name of the spice when you push the button, so a little searching would be necessary...

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

03/31/2022 12:03 PM

Maybe Braille labels, with the spices arranged alphabetically so that the desired one can be located.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/01/2022 4:15 AM

But, will the product be available after today?

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#2

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

03/31/2022 5:38 AM

We all have preconceptions about things we actually know next to nothing about: the first thing to do is to go and talk to some blind people.

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#4
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Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

03/31/2022 2:41 PM
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#6

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/01/2022 2:23 PM

I would go a bit farther than... talk to a blind person(s).

I would talk with several blind cooks.

Sometimes (often) the targeted consumer has already "solved" the issue with very simple solutions.

Not really sure (?) how many in the blind community like to use technology in solving their issues.

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#7

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/01/2022 7:10 PM

Inspired by digital telephone answering device:

Physical description: Square spice canisters arranged in slots along a linear base (minimal protrusion into counter space; enables easy counting from ends). Lifting/replacing any canister makes/breaks electronic contact in base. Single raised button on front of base.

First usage: Lift a canister. Push button on base. After the beep, say the name of the spice. Release button. Replace canister. Now whenever that canister is lifted, the spice name will be announced in the user's voice. Repeat for other canisters.

To change spice name associated with any canister: Lift the canister. Push button on base. After the beep...etc.

Measurement: Use measuring spoons, or, shake spice into palm to sense quantity.

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#8

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/21/2022 1:02 PM

Recommended solution

The ideal spice rack features square-shaped mason jars, each with a button or lever activator that dispenses a remeasured amount of spice. The jars also feature a sealed lid for reloading. The jars sit on a countertop or tabletop rack; each rack level is reclined so the jars sit evenly. Braille labels are stuck to all four sides of the square jar, at the same height.

Explanation

  • Square-shared mason jars are already mass produced. Round versions may rotate in the rack, making it harder for user to quickly run their finger over the braille label.
  • Spoons are sub-optimal. The user will need to user their finger to level-off measuring spoons, and will also need to keep track of lids and jars -- potentially more than one. A premeasurement system (probably 1/8 tsp) is better; users can add spice straight from the jar and set it aside.
  • Since the user will be using their fingers to read labels, the rack should be placed within each reach of the hands. A tabletop design is likely best.
  • To quickly find different spices, the user must be able to compare labels. To keep the labels aligned, the jars need to even in the spice rack. By reclining the jars slightly, this ensures they have similar axes in the rack.
  • A label on each side ensures each jar is identifiable, regardless of which jar face is up.

Most of this could be automated by electronics and software, yet it adds complexity and obsolescence.

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#9
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Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/21/2022 2:18 PM

It is not clear in your description how "a button or lever activator" could dispense a measured amount of spice from a mason jar.

Why do you want blind people to be able to identify spice containers but don't want sighted people to identify you (Anonymous Poster #1)?

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#11
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Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/22/2022 10:10 AM

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#14
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Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/22/2022 2:12 PM

So after the blind person identifies the correct braille labelled mason jar, then he/she pours the spice into the shown dispenser and operates the thumb lever to measure out the desired quantity of spice. After this is done the blind person pours the remaining spice back into the braille labelled mason jar and replaces the mason jar in its rack. It is just that simple.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/22/2022 8:12 AM

Does "mason jar" just translate to "jam jar" in UK English?

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/22/2022 10:11 AM

yes

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: A Spicy, Open-Ended Design Solution (April '22 Challenge Question)

04/22/2022 1:00 PM

No. None of the jars shown in Randall's post are mason jars. A mason jar is a specific design of jar used in home canning. It was named after a U.S. tinsmith, John Mason, who patented the design in 1858.

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