In collaboration with Health Habitat: Housing for Better Health (a non-for-profit organisation focused on improving health in remote Aboriginal communities in Australia) the brief was to explore ways in which design research and technology can improve housing in remote harsh Australian conditions.

Cutting Edge looked at two aspects of housing in remote communities.

  • Firstly, the poor maintenance of diet in the communities
  • Secondly the direct link between lighting and food in the home.

As researched lighting in the home was poor which an increase in injury from food preparation and the willingness to attempt skilled preparation of food in these areas decline.

As these communities are far from licensed trades people to install more lighting, a solution was needed to bring the light to the people and to where it is needed the most in context of the specific problem.

The resolution was to manufacture a range of cooking and food preparation implements which focused light to the area where it is needed.

The most basic of cooking and preparation implements were identified and designed to bring light to the purpose of the implement.

As for a knife the light was to focus on the sharp edge, for the spoon to focus on the bowl of the spoon and the same for the spatula.

Cutting Edge – Charging Base

In designing the light into the implement charging the light became an issue to be resolved. The charger was to be the house or knife block where the implements are stored. This could not only rely on mains power to charge but also use solar cells to provide charge to the implements when mains power was not available.

There were various methods to making the model for the base. Firstly using foam and foam core to get the basic overall form then moved to a wooden model and vacuum forming around that model.

The final model was a combination of Computer Numerical Control CNC routing of polypropylene and Stereolithography (SLA) combined with solar cell and aluminium.

Cutting Edge – Modeling the Implements

The implements required in depth ergonomic research to design a solid and comfortable cooking implement which was robust and met food safety standards.

Initial work on modelling the implements involved foam styling explained below followed by making the solid prototype.

For the purposes of the model the blades for the spatula were laser cut from stainless steel. These blades were then clipped into the handle. This process involved research into basic cooking implements for food preparation including their size and shape. The information from those figures were then compared to human elements that are involved in the use of the implement.

The handles for the implements were then modelled by SLA and Selecting Laser Sintering (SLS) in accordance to the foam model making, research and analysis.

The handles also had to take into account a technical package which consisted of induction charger, battery cell, circuit board, wiring and LED. The Led then needed a diffuser to focus the light to where it would be of most use.

Cutting Edge