Alere

COOKING PLATFORM

To develop a flexible, adaptable cooking platform for a small kitchen environment, which supports two food preparation processes. 

The Problem

Modern kitchens are approximately a third smaller than they were in the 1960s. The results of a smaller kitchen area could affect the amount of storage room available for various appliances. Thus, limiting the user's desired cooking options due to the few appliances in the kitchen space. This creates a problem when trying to decide, how many appliances should the user own? How much space will they take up? Should an appliance be thrown out to accommodate for more room?

The Concept

This slow cooking and steaming kitchen appliance can adapt in many environments. Due to its universal size and serving portion, it can be placed in a family household, small apartment or shared dorm room. A special feature that this kitchen appliance has is a detachable timer that is magnetically attached to the control interface. It's purpose is to adapt to the users schedule and life style.

Design Opportunities

1/3

Ideation

My goal was to create a kitchen appliance that adapts to the user's needs, optimizes storage space, provides safety features, has simple replaceable components, and has a minimilistic non-intrusive style. 

Prototyping

The low fidelity mock ups helped me explore and understand proper dimensions. What I focused on making first was the insert pot and steaming basket. My aim was to measure the general portion side around 3-4 quarts, but I made an error and it resulted in the the portion sized to be larger. I made adjustments and altered this in my later process of the prototyping phase.

"Easy to hold!
And that way the handles can't break off like some pots." 

60% 

comfort rate for medium size dial

87%

of male participants commented on the handle size being small

User Testing

The individuals I chose to test my appliance on was a set of students that lived in one of my university's residence buildings. I got access to a TV lounge in one of buildings, I sat there and waited for people to come in. There were three questions I asked relating to the components dimensions, dial sizes, and handle comfort. People started off with disassembling, reassembling and inspecting each component of the prototype. This was to get a better understanding of how the user would handle the product.

Refinement

The individuals I chose to test my appliance on was a set of students that lived in one of my university's residence buildings. I got access to a TV lounge in one of buildings, I sat there and waited for people to come in.

Handle Enlargement

Dial Size

Material Choices

Removing Unecessary Features

LID

A heat resistant silicone handle with ergonomic form. Users can comfortably slip their fingers underneath and effortlessly have a grip on the lid. The slightly domed glass allows moisture to circulate and the transparency lets users have a clear visual of their cooking process.

STEAMING BASKET

The second layer consists of a steaming strainer that allows you to cook a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, chicken, and shellfish. The silicone material allows the user to remove without burning or scalding accidents.

SLOW COOKING INSERT

Underneath the strainer is a ceramic slow cooking pot insert. This material is easy to clean and relatively lightweight. On the sides of this component are inverted handles coated in silicone. The purpose of having them inverted is for storage, aesthetics and repairability issues. 

HEATING ELEMENT BASE

The most important and last component of this kitchen appliance is the heating element. The heating element wraps around the entire interior wall and bottom.

 

The interface is very intuitive and minimilistic. There are two dials that can be adjusted for the cooking process. A temperature dial that consists of 5 options, and a timer dial that can be set up to 8 hours. The timer dial also has a feature of being removed and taken with the user if they choose to leave the room or general premises.