Innovative students from the University of Sheffield have created a unique device to help an 11-year-old with cerebral palsy achieve his dream to cook.
Cooking for All Ltd, made up of ten Aerospace Engineering students, designed the winning device entitled Easy Mix, which can help Kieron Norton mix or cut food for baking or cooking.
Easy Mix consists of a mixing bowl with a sealed lid through which as poon, knife or other cooking implement fits through, something that would allow Kieron to embrace his passion for cooking by enabling him to mix or cut food independently and without making a mess.
The bowl can then be popped straight into the oven for baking. The device was created as part of a competition entitled Making Kieron´s life easier in which over 140 engineering students used their skills to design 13commercially feasible products that could aid Kieron and other with cerebral palsy to operate more easily in their day-to-day life.
At the event, students pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, made up of industry experts, entrepreneurial alumni, business people and Kieron´s family and teacher. Students proposed a whole range of suggestions to help Kieron, some of which were in the initial concept design stage, while other students brought along prototypes for Kieron and his family to try out. Easy Mix was chosen as the winning idea following much deliberation and was closely followed by the design of an arched keyboard device, which took second place. The keyboard, which featured large buttons, could be linked up with computer software to enable Kieron and sufferers of various other disabilities to play games and learn.
The arch shape of the keyboard was designed specifically to accommodate Kieron´s restricted arm movement. In third place was an interactive board game from the team ASISTA,which could help people suffering from severe communication or neurological disorders actively play board games and interact with other people by helping them select which pieces they want to move. Other ideas suggested by the students included a device to help Kieron eat easily via the use of a detachable cup, plate and spork (a mix between a spoon and fork), all of which could be attached to a non-slip tray; a retractable hood to protect wheelchair users against rain; a TV remote control designed for touch screens, helping people who do not have the dexterity to push buttons; a device to help sufferers turn a page easily using a sticky wrist band; and a hand brace, which would help Kieron write, paint or brush his teeth. It is hoped the winning design, Easy Mix, will now be turned into a reality to help Kieron and other people with neuro muscular disabilities.