Assistive tableware set designed for people to eat independently   

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Inspiration 

I was inspired by my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. As her caregiver, I know the job of caregiving is not easy. I am not a doctor, so I could not work to cure the disease, but I wanted to help her and other people who have the same condition to have a better quality of life. 

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Problem 

Eating is what people have to do every day to stay alive and healthy. It is a primary need that must be met. In many people with dementia, their cognitive or motor abilities are affected, which can cause many problems during the mealtime. I felt there should be something that could be used to help people with dementia to eat by themselves as much as possible to maintain their nutrition, and also alleviate the caring burden of caregivers.

Job Role 

I led every phase of design from concept through the final manufacturing process including user research, concept development, competitive analysis, drawings, 3D CAD models, prototypes, user testing, manufacturing, QC, packaging design, and product fulfillment.

Outcomes  

In 2014 Eatwell successfully raised over $100k USD to fund mass production and packaging, and began deliveries to backers at the end of 2015.  Link Here 

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Eatwell has partners with sales channels in the US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, HK, and Macao. Eatwell has been used in thousands of adult facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and homes of home caregivers to help people in need to eat independently on a daily basis. 

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Honors & Awards

2020 "New Old: Design for our future selves" - Pratt Manhattan Gallery  
19 FOOD: “Bigger than the Plate” exhibit - Victoria and Albert Museum

2019 Access+Ability exhibit - Carnegie Museum of Art, USA

2018 “Designed in California” exhibit - SFMOMA, USA

2018 “The Sense” exhibit - Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum

2017 Golden Award - A' Design Award & Competition, Italy

2017 Design Mark - Golden Pin Design Award, Asia

2016 One of “The 25 Best Inventions of 2016” - Time Magazine

2016 One of “The 25 Most Innovative Health Care Designs Of The Year” - Fast Company

2016 Finalist for IBD Awards - Fast Company

2015 “Tableware designed for Alzheimer's patients” - CNN

2015 The 40 most exciting innovations of the year - Tech Insider

2015 Top 100 Innovative Products - Rodale

2014 First Place - Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge

2014 Finalist - Red Dot & IDEA

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Now, I would like to show you my design process of designing Eatwell. 

Research

There are 5.8 million Americans living with dementia. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. While many scientists are working on the problem, currently, there is no cure for dementia. 

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*After the product set launched, our users include many different kinds of people in need. Its universal, user-centric design can benefit those with cognitive (such as Alzheimer's and other dementias), motor (Parkinson's disease, various scleroses), and physical (injury, infirmity) impairments. It also benefits children who are learning self-feeding skills.

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Designing a product for people with cognitive and motor impairments can not be done without extensive research to study behavioral patterns and collaboration with professional caretakers.

In addition to researching the condition and attending all kinds of events related to dementia and aging, I also volunteered at 3 adult daycare centers in San Francisco for one year to:

1) get a better chance to talk and receive feedback from professional caregivers, and

2) observe and run trials on people with cognitive impairment while serving food

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Storyboard (challenges of Users )

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Sketches & Mockups & Testings  

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Ergonomics 

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Cups

Since 2/3 of people with Alzheimer’s are female. I started with the 50th percentile of the male handbreadth length of 3.5 inches as the standard to determine the height of cups.

 

The length will increase by 14% when bent, therefore, the minimum height of the cups is 3.99 inches. 

Spoons

The handgrip of the joint is 15 degrees. It determines the degree of the handle since people with dementia usually use a fist grip to grasp a spoon.

Tray

The size of the tray was sized to the comfortable eating space determined in research to be 16”x24”(40.6 cm x 61cm). The handles of the tray should be longer than 3.99 inches. The width of the handle opening is 1 inch.

Bowls

The diameter of the bowls is 7 inches, which is considered wide enough to make users see the food clearly.

Final Design 

There are over twenty unique features in every EATWELL set. Every design detail and decision can be traced back to a finding or discovery made during the development process. 

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According to a study conducted by Boston University, solid colors help  reduce visual impairment for a person with dementia and can result in 24% more food and 84% more liquid consumption. 

 

Blue was chosen to be the inner color since there is no commonly consumed food that comes in the color of blue. Red and yellow were chosen to help stimulate their appetite.

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The slanted bottom design can help users gather food on one

side without scooping.

The right-angle side of the bowl is designed to help users collect food into the spoon more easily and also to prevent food from being accidentally scooped out of the bowl. 

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Both spoon heads are designed

to match the curvature of the

bowls to pick up the food easier.

One side matches the curvature of the wall while the other side matches the basin of the bowl. 

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To prevent the cups from tipping over, one cup has a rubber base that acts as a stabilizer. 

Another cup has a handle that extends to the tabletop for added support. The handle is also specifically designed to benefit users with arthritis.

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Every product in the Eatwell set is made with anti-slippage material on the bottom to prevent slipping or sliding. 

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A tray was designed that allows users to clip a bib onto the edge to help catch any dropped food and prevent clothing stains. 

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