We have seen many culinary innovations, from a washing machine that cooks meals to an app that teaches kids about healthy eating. Now, Folks is a new range of kitchenware for the blind to help with the challenge of cooking.
Using sensory feedback and tactile cues, Folks enables users to cook safely and with confidence. The invention – designed by Kevin Chiam from the National University of Singapore – has also entered the James Dyson Award. The collection consists of five products: a knife, chopping board, stove ring, pot lid and teaspoon.
Each product works by tapping into the user’s sensory strengths, such as touch or hearing. A retractable guard on the Folks knife acts as an anchor that guides the user’s fingers while they are cutting. This enables the user to prepare food safely. In addition, the guard is removable which allows for easier cleaning.
The chopping board has a side tray to help transfer ingredients without spillage. The stove ring has a terraced profile to help the user easily identify where the burner is. It also secures cookware in place to prevent spillage. The pot lid has a pronounced spout so the user can recognise where the steam outlet is and avoid burns.
Finally, the teaspoon has an integrated float which rises as liquids are poured into a cup to inform the user of water levels. To create the products, Chiam conducted interviews and observed people who are blind in their homes. This provided him with first-hand information and enabled him to pinpoint areas where his designs could be implemented.