Cookware for the Visually Impaired
Sight cookware was created for the Electrolux Design Lab 2012. The goal of the competition was to "increase the sensory experience of the user while preparing food". I began thinking about what it would be like to cook without the ability to see. After investigating numerous cooking blogs and sites for the visually impaired, I discovered that stovetop cooking can be a real challenge. Without proper safety wear (such as oven mitts and gloves), users can easily burn themselves on hot handles and rims. Sight cookware aims to increase user safety and comfort while cooking.
Safety While Cooking
Serious burns can easily result from cooking with impaired vision. Placement of pots and pans on the stove must be remembered to avoid accidentally touching the rims, which would result in a burn. To make the rims, lids, and handles more visually apparent, brightly coloured LED lights were integrated into each pot and pan to provide enhanced contrast. The contrast is what helps the visually impaired recognize objects and distinguish between them.
HOW IT WORKS
The LED lights are powered by thermoelectric current. A thermoelectric strip runs from the hot bottom of the pot to the cooler handle, creating a gradient that powers the LED lights. The pot thus lights up as it becomes hot, improving visibility to the user.
Higher contrast=better visibility=fewer injuries
The pots and pans are cast iron with a matte black enamel finish to minimize light reflections from the kitchen environment, allowing the user to focus their attention on the contours of the cookware. The handle also has a slightly larger diameter to accommodate users who wear oven mitts or gloves while cooking. Because users are not able to see the contours of each pot and pan, the chances of burns occurring while cooking are significantly reduced.
What it could look like
This is what someone who is visually impaired might see when they look at the stove while using Sight cookware. The pot rims, lid, and handles are now highly visible, making the user's cooking experience much safer and more enjoyable.