The Sustainable BBQ Brief

The first of 4, 3 week projects, to design a portable BBQ that uses an alternative energy source to bottled gas or charcoal. From speaking to lecturers and peers these briefs are fairly flexible, allowing me to change the overall definition of the project and see how it can be manipulated to create something more interesting.

So what already exists:

Figure 1 (Referenced Below)

As you can see, some of these design already use alternate energy sources, including electric for grill heating or electric of water bath heating. So I thought about what every one else thinks about at this point, and that’s solar. However, solar BBQ concepts, that include a portability option, already exist:

Figure 2 (Referenced Below)

These designs use the heat energy absorbed from the sun and reflect it from mirrored panels into a focused area. The large amount of energy reflected, heats up these areas to a high temperature to allow for cooking. From further research, these products all require lots of sunlight for a long duration, typically on a clear or lightly cloudy day. So what other fuel sources are there?


Figure 3 (Referenced Below)

Biomass! Something that is formed from multiple sources as shown in figure. I could implement the use of these fuels into a new design. Of course I am aware that the best way to make the simplest BBQ is simply by starting a fire, using wood (a form of biomass), however what are the issues with using biomass fuels?

As it turns out 2.5 billion people around the world still use biomass as their main source of fuel for cooking. This accounts for 90% of household energy consumption. With these figures still set to increase to over 2.7 billion by 2030, that’s a third of the current population.

The major negative from this is that using biomass creates high levels of pollutants and nasty particulates that can cause life long or fatal incidents. The graph in figure 4 shows that the deaths from biomass fuel over weighed the deaths caused by Malaria. With figure 5 showing that India was the most hit by this with almost 500,000 people in a year.


Figure 4 (Referenced Below)


Figure 5 (Referenced Below)

From this I aim to research what is used in the developing countries and why these statistics are so high. I will have to consider the different cultures that a new product of system would be used in. This will help me to understand why they do what they do and to see if there is a simple way to improve the situation.

This has helped me to devise a new brief:

Due to amount of fatal incidents that occur using biomass, a portable cooking facility (or system) will be designed to remove these issues.

  • The design must contain a filtration system to remove any particulates made form burning biomass.
  • The design must be cheap to manufacture for easy distribution in developing countries.
  • The design must have an implement of portability.

More on this to follow!


Figure 1: (2018). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
& Blue Digger. (n.d.). Folding Portable BBQ Grill with Carrier. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
& eBay. (n.d.). Yellowstone Mini Folding Portable BBQ Barbeque Picnic Travel Camping Grill | eBay. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
& (n.d.). Electric Barbeque Grill. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
& Weber. (n.d.). Smokey Joe® Portable BBQ | Charcoal Range | Weber Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].

Figure 2: (2018).  [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
& GoSun. (n.d.). GoSun Grill®. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
& Solar Cooking. (n.d.). Wilson Solar Grill. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].

Figure 3:
Zafar, S. (n.d.). Biomass Energy and Sustainability. [online] BioEnergy Consult. Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].

Figure 4:
ENERGY FOR COOKING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. (2006). [ebook] International Energy Agency. Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].

Figure 5:
ENERGY FOR COOKING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. (2006). [ebook] International Energy Agency. Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].



So many to choose from?

Starting our final major project for uni, with some many decisions to make. The choices are simply between option and 1 and option 2, with the differences of each being fairly minimal.

Option 1.
A full 12 week project based on a found need for new design. This includes a full product design specification, thorough design process and a well thought-out outcome.

Option 2:
A choice of 4 different, 3 week projects for a choice of 14. Again each project must include a fully thought out design process and outcome.
The 14:

  • 1 Great outdoors – furniture included space in the back of CSAD.
  • 2 Plastic-less food packaging.
  • 3 The factory of the future – manufacturing process’s more sustainable.
  • 4 Batch numbers of one – speeding up build up time of products.
  • 5 Personalized food.
  • 6 Increasing speed to market.
  • 7 Zero physical prototyping – is prototyping necessary?
  • 8 Co-Bots – in domestic environments.
  • 9 Big Data – where or what is the next big data development.
  • 10 Digital Twin.
  • 11 Seeing is believing – modular exhibition system for CSAD.
  • 12 POD, a modular meeting space.
  • 13 Sustainable BBQ-ing.
  • 14 Student Choice – 3 week version of option 1.

At first I thought option 1 would be perfect for me, follow on from one of the 2 live projects that have been completed recently and fully develop a much more coherent outcome. On the other hand option 2 would offer wide range of product development and a varied portfolio after university. Time to think.

Figure 1

Almost a day later and good time to sleep on it. I realised it would be best for me to go forward with Option 2, selecting 4 of the choices that would offer me the best possible outcome, both for my creative interests and set me in the path for possible career opportunities.

So which choices?
Looking back at previous projects, I believed it was best to stay away from working with disabilities as I am already covering this for my other major project. Then in terms of manufacturing processes and providing sustainable and more efficient practices, my technical report covers these topics extensively.

This leaves me with:

  • 1 Great outdoors – furniture included space in the back of CSAD.
  • 2 Plastic-less food packaging.
  • 5 Personalized food.
  • 8 Co-Bots – in domestic environments.
  • 9 Big Data – where or what is the next big data development.
  • 10 Digital Twin.
  • 11 Seeing is believing – modular exhibition system for CSAD.
  • 12 POD, a modular meeting space.
  • 13 Sustainable BBQ-ing.
  • 14 Student Choice – 3 week version of option 1.

But I can only choose 4… As stated previously a project that will peak my creative interests would be something that sparks a higher level of motivation, designing something that will be more enjoyable to me. Could this project also incorporate my work as a student ambassador, making it more accessible for me to gather research on the university for the CSAD based projects?

Figure 2

So after this time to think and understanding which project would best suit me. Here are my options (subject to change if appropriate ideas and research is not reached):

  • 11 Seeing is believing – modular exhibition system for CSAD.
    For its link with exhibitions that I will doing for CSAD as student ambassador, good research can be collected on what is needed and how it will work. Developing this for other markets outside CSAD will also help to broaden the market.
  • 12 POD, a modular meeting space.
    Something that interest me, in the future how will meetings be conducted and how can a new design be created to assist with this. Also the specifications that are implemented here, max 4 people capacity, maximum amount of floor space allowed could make for a very technical design.
  • 13 Sustainable BBQ-ing.
    My days as a scout leader always had me thinking of projects to do with the outdoors and how we could make them better. What about a new kind of BBQ that uses water bath technology or a durable BBQ for uses in developing countries that cant afford the basic cooking utensils?
  • 14 Student Choice – 3 week version of option 1.
    Choosing this one allow a free space to be as creative or as technical as i wish. Possibly returning to one of the very enjoyable 24 hours projects, or seeing what other ideas may spark from the work to come.


Headline Image: (2015). Which Way to Quality Assurance? | Nutritional Outlook. [online image] Available at: [Accessed 8 Feb. 2018].

Figure 1: (2018). Thinking Time – EVERY DAY SHOULD BE FUN. [online image] Available at: [Accessed 8 Feb. 2018].

Figure 2: Mehta, K. (2017). The Democratization of Enterprise Knowledge and Learning – Training Industry. [online image] Training Industry. Available at: [Accessed 8 Feb. 2018].

Zest for Leisure

The next industry run project, an interesting brief, a great opportunity, a lot of work and only 24 hours to do it.

The brief:
To design one of the following:

  • Garden Planter
  • Garden Arch
  • Piece of furniture

For one of these Markets:

  • Family Focused
  • Convenience Gardeners
  • Garden Prouds

We were informed that the design must consider flat packing, easy assembly and would primarily be made from pine wood, due the company’s standard materials.

How it all went:
As this was an independent design project, I decided it as best to try and combine each of the products to produce a full range of products. First off I wanted to see what the company were already producing and how I could develop the aesthetics to fit it with a new market.

z4l products
Figure 1

From this, I put together my own sketches to develop a range, based on form or combination of function through one product.


Figure 3

As shown here there was a drive to develop something that was new. An innovative idea, that look different to the standard garden furniture would add something to the market place, and hopefully engage with buyers on new level.

Using locally sourced materials.
From this I then thought about how slate is very nice and upmarket materials and that using this, could help to aim the product at the ‘garden proud’ market, having something that looks pleasing and long-lasting.
So how would Zest 4 Leisure obtain such slate? Through Welsh Slate, a company based in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda. Where high quality slate in quarried and can produce refined looking slate as shown below. This could be used to create nicely tiles sections in my design.

weslh slate
Figure 3


Presenting Ideas:
From the quick presentation that was given to the design team of the company, it was agreed to go forward with a modular design, that could incorporate all 3 products, with a range aesthetic.

A late night and a final concept:
Thanks to the late opening times at the university I was able to stay late to process that days research and develop a final concept. This was the outcome that was reached:

Figure 4

As you can see the design uses the ranged aesthetic, with each piece consisting of pine wood and slate. The range is: a fold away seat (middle), a raised planter bed (either side of the seat) and an archway (either end). The archways were the focal point of my design, with the image below showing how it consists of 3 panels with embedded slate. These panels are slotted together using a Mortise and Tenon joint and allows for flat packing. The top panel on the arch could also be used as the bed panel for the raised planter making it a more sustainable and more cost effective design.

Figure 5

Upon reflection, time was definitely my enemy on this project. As you can see I was unable to produce a fully developed flat packing range for all the products, nor was i able to produce situational image to show how the chair would work using ropes, and how the raised planter would be stabilised using correct fixtures. However, this project has been thoroughly enjoyable and a great insight into a different company with different values and products to others I have worked with. In the long term, given the chance, I would like to develop this idea and find out whether or not it would be plausible to manufacture for the market.


Figure 1: (2016). Zest 4 Leisure go double decker at Solex. [online image] Available at: [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Figure 2: Image Authors Own

Figure 3: Welsh Slate Products. (2017). Slate flagstones and floor tiles – Welsh Slate Products. [online image] Available at: [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Figure 4: Image Authors Own

Figure 5: Image Authors Own

24 Hours of PDR

This was quite the experience! Given a brief, deliverables, a chance to win some cash and all to be done in 24 hours.

The brief:
To design a piece of wearable technology for release in Q1 of 2019. This must fit the market of one of 5 options. The group I was in decided the market of “Crime and Punishment” would have the most scope for a new design will a lot of idea already in place after the first hour of design.

The deliverables:
Were very flexible, giving us the freedom the design what we want. As it was only 24 hours, it was more to see how far we could push each other and a design within the time limit.

The prize:
£300 cash or an escape room day out for runner up!.

How it went:
So to start with our group, Callum, Todd, Mathew, Natalie and I went for crime and punishment as the brief, to develop this new wearable tech. Withing the first few hours, ideas were getting sorted and detailed market research was done to see where the gap in the market was. The main outcome was that rehabilitation was the key to bettering the life of convicts post prison sentence.

The research identified that housing each prisoner per year was approximately £32,510, which does not include court fees and labour fees, which can round this amount up to £90,000. Another figure that adds to this, is the amount of time, prisoners re-offend which again, adds a further £30,000-£90,000 a year for the housing of prisoners, standing at 59% of all UK prisoners will re-offend within the first 12 months of release.

Money gif
Figure 1

So it was obvious, Rehabilitate, Reeducate and get them back into society with a better mindset to helping the community and repaying the money that it cost to put them in in the first place. This will even stop the re-offence of a prisoner and save those high costs.

So how do we do this? More Research! This showed that prison life was distracting and lacked the necessary requirements for sensory stimuli and motivation. This was due to the many hurdles faced on the inside, with the high amounts of noise, leading to the lack of sleep, self worth and any determination to better themselves.

Figure 2

The solution:
Develop a wearable product for prisoners that can help them regain independence to motivate them, providing them with a way to reduce background noise and increase the chance of reconnected with society. So concept sketching and further research was done to define what we could class as wearable technology and how we could implement it into prison life.

Call Sketching
Figure 3

Figure 3 shows a sketch and development sheet, of a variety of wrist bands, ear clips, watches and similar that use current technology to store music, educational works and personal information. The device will allow the prisoner (on good behaviour) to upload all of this, to provide a reduction of background noise through music, personal motivation through messages from the outside and rehabilitation exercises buy listening to educational resources to make them better suited for society upon release. All of this will aim to reduce the amount of the re-offences that occur and save over £30,000 a year buy not having to house and provide labour for each prisoner.  This, in turn, may also reduce any over population that prisons may face today.

Interim Presentation:
From this presentation, we were informed that the research behind the idea shows excellent grounding and that the feasibility of this project was sound. However we needed to go back to drawing board in terms of product complexity, why does the prisoner need a band or watch to listen to music, why not simplify the design and re-imagine the headphones for prison use.

Final Design:

A new style of headphones, made from industrial, durable foam, with not externals components. All of this produces a simple to use design that can incorporate downloading software that is not weaponlizable.

Inmate Headphones
Figure 5

To make sure that prisoners can’t use the software in any illegal way, all the information would pass through a regulated VPN (virtual private network). As mention previously the materials used are light weight but durable and all of the components with be contained withing the device. This will stop the product from being used in a malicious way, with the internal components being inaccessible for any purpose other than what they are intended for.

So… The Outcome:
Runner up. Our team came 2nd, with information from the PDR team that the decision between us and 1st place team team was a difficult one to make.

Upon reflection this has been an incredible opportunity, being thrown into a brand new project with a daunting 24 hour deadline, pushed myself and my team to produce a prize winning outcome. The best part of this, was seeing what can be done in 24 hours. By pushing myself and my creative ability, the short timeline and interesting design processes really helped in producing a well thought out, and surprisingly plausible, design idea.

From this, I aim to start every new project with a new vigorous approach, applying a solid 24 hours to developing new concepts and a wide variety of ideas that can then be taken forward for the remaining time of the project. For this, the research sections should be done with a team of different minded people to produce an even wider variety of concepts; things, that on my own, would not have been thought of.

Figrue 1:  GIPHY. (n.d.). Free Money GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [Online Image] Available at: [Accessed 27 Jan. 2018].

Figure 2: 14 Tips for Jumping entrepreneurship hurdles (2014). [Online Image] Avaiable at: [Accessed 27 Jane.218.].

Figure 3: Image Authors Own

Figure 4: Image Authors Own

Figure 5: Image Edited from: Man behind bars sitting in jail cell (u.d.). [Online Image] Available at: [Accessed 27 Jane.218.].

PDP, Reflecting on my Technical Research Report

Over the course of two summer placements I was able to gather a lot of research about press form manufacturing, working for a company called Gestamp. This led me to the conclusion that writing about this process would allow for plenty of research to be undertaken to fully understand what this process holds and how it stands in industry today.  The focus on sustainability was a key factor, as I am fully aware of the increase in the need for recycling and how big companies ensure that their processes are sustainable, both environmentally and economically.

My time in industry showed me that press forming is still a widely used practice and that there are many applications that use press forming to create both small scale and large scale products. As the company uses their machinery to press form car body parts, I was able to learn that the majority of the materials used in the process are used to create the parts with only 30% of the raw materials were wasted. This waste however, adds to the economic sustainability of the process as its then sold onto scrap merchants who recycle the waste and the money from this is then given back to original producer of the raw material to allow for purchasing and manufacturing of new materials.

B vs P

Figure 1 (Blanking Vs Punching)

When initially writing my technical report, focusing on the technology was vital to get across exactly how press forming works, including the different processes presses go through to produce a variety products. This included the basic operation presses perform through punching and blanking and the different types of press, including Hydraulic, Mechanical and Servo that all use different types of driving motion to form the metal sheets into the desired shape. Punching and blanking shown in figure 1 and the types of presses shown in figures 2 respectively.

Figure 2 (Gupta and Prateek, n.d.) (Tyagi, 2012) (, 2008)

As further research showed just focusing on the technology was not appropriate as the materials used in this process were vital to understand exactly how the process works and why it is still viable in today industries.

From this, time was spent understanding the different types of metal that were used in mass producing parts from press forming. It was clear to me that steel and aluminum were the main materials used in press forming, this is shown by the research undertaken, showing how these types of metals can produce high strength products with low weights, that when certain forces applied to the sheet metal can be deformed into a variety of desire shapes. The basics of which can be shown in figure 3 below, showing how metals are deformed due to the amount of strain applied.

Figure 3 (Suradi, 2017) (a) (Necking Diagram) (b)

The process of writing my technical report has so far taught me about correct writing skills, being able to interpret the information I was gathering from books, articles and research documents I was reading.

It was from this point that I started to consider the sustainable aspects of other manufacturing processes and how the use of press forming, which is a sustainable process, can replace other un-sustainable processes. I quickly realised that producing anything from plastic can create a non-recyclable product and even with today’s technology, we are still not recycling enough waste as we could. This led me to finding the need for a new design, simply design out plastics.

This idea of designing out plastics is something that I will be considering for future design project. It was intriguing to see how much man-kind wastes and the problems this causes. If all it takes is to consider different materials and the way we use products, it is a shame that we don’t do more as society to provide the most sustainable future we can.

After understanding that a massive 42% of all ‘bulky waste’ was furniture (, 2015), it was clear to me that, even with the amount of chairs out there that could replace plastic, there is still not a design that can be quickly manufactured, completely recycled, and easy to produce in large quantities, replacing the need for the mass production of plastic chairs.


Figure 4 (Concept Design)

For me, this project became increasingly interesting as it moved from the technology of press forming, to the understanding of a new design, to the design itself. At this point, when coming up with the concepts for the design, I was able to use the research and knowledge I had gained to understand what features the design would need and how it would be manufactured. Shown in figure 4.

The final design (figure 5) came about as a combination of: the evaluation of each concept, further research into the comfort and stack-ability of a chair and the addition of a feature to both strengthen and reduce the weight of the overall design.

Final Chair collageFigure 5 (Final Chair Concept)

As shown here I was able to develop and come up with a new design for a press formed chair. This has taught me how to correctly design for press form manufacturing, including the features than can be added to the design, and the overall form that can be achieved. I believe that with more development the aesthetic and the weight of the chair can be improved for better use.

Throughout this project, research was done to find the relevant information using all manner of documentation including: books, articles, web references, imagery and primary sources. This enabled me to put together a coherent report about the process of press forming and the sustainable aspect is involves.

Upon reflection, I have enjoyed learning about the process of press forming and how it still plays a significant role in today’s society. The implications of having such a sustainable process has allowed me to appreciate to different style of manufacturing and how every day plastic objects can and should be turned into re-usable, renewable products that have a minimal effect on the environment. Being able to design a new product around press forming was a significant process to help me further my knowledge on the subject and produce a new design that would suit a wide variety of people. If I were to re-visit this, I would aim to undergo more research into the process of renewable energies, giving more focus on the other manufacturing processes that are fully sustainable.

This project has given me an insight into my future, from this I am considering a career in the manufacturing industry helping to develop new techniques to reduce waste and lower the environmental impact that the industry is still accountable for. It seems that the manufacturing industry primarily prioritises profit; I would like to change, through design, the industry, to better focus on sustainable practice in broadest sense. Not only working towards environmental sustainability but also ensuring the sustainment of a company and the industry. This will be done by critiquing the process that all products go through thus attempting to reduce waste, increase re-usability, and encourage recycling.

Bibliography: (2015). Report: The Great Recovery – Rearranging the Furniture – RSA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2017].


[Figure 1] Blanking Vs Punching, Image Authors own.

[Figure 2] Gupta and Prateek (n.d). NC Hydraulic Press Brakes | Micro Hydro Technic. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

&Tyagi, V. (2012). sheet metal working. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

& (2008). Servo Press Technology, DSF Series, Direct Drive Servo Presses, from AIDA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

[Figure 3] (a) Suradi, E. (2017). Why does the stress-strain curve decrease?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

[Figure 3] (b) Necking Diagram, Image authors own

[Figure 4] Concept Design, Image authors own

[Figure 5] Final Chair Concept,  Image Authors own

Developing Other Ideas:

From previous modeling, I finally have access to some Dycem material, so using this I have developed my jug models to incorporate this and see what effect it could have on the product.

dycem 2

Above is an image of the kinds of rolls of the materials that are currently on the market. The great thing about this material is that it easy to mould with a cutting the Dycem can be done efficiently with a pair of scissors.

To see the non-slip effect of this material, a colleague and I wanted to see how much pull it would take to remove a pool queue from his grip with the material.

Grip 1
Figure 1


Grip 2
Figure 2


Figure 1 and 2 shows the pool cue with no Dycem applied and my colleague holding the cue with a light grip. As you can see I was able to slide the cue out of his grip with little effort. Figure 3 shows the Dycem being applied.

Grip 3
Figure 3

My colleague then applied the same amount of grip as previous. He even says that he can feel a stronger grip on the cue, even though he applied the same level of gripping force as the previous test.

Figure 4 below shows that even after me pulling, the only thing is was moving was the person holding the cue and I was unable to move slide the cue itself out of his grip.

Grip 4
Figure 4


These images shown above are the first developed model of my jug idea, removing the handle all together and simply using Dycem as the gripping point of the jug. This would remove any need for the user to grip onto a handle and the Dycem would provide enough friction so that the user cold tilt the jug with at enough of an angle to decant the liquid inside.

Asking for feedback on this product I was met with response like: What about weight, wont be too heavy to lift when it is full of water? and What about heat, wont it burn if its filled with boiling liquids?

More Research:

So to do help me understand the capabilities of this material a little further, I attached a sheet of Dycem plastic to a pre-existing jug design, to see if incorporating some sort of handle would help:


I then put boiling water into the jug and asked another colleague to pour the water from the jug into a cup.

Figures 5, 6 and 7 shows the user pouring the water into the cup. This was done slowly as the user thought the grip wouldn’t hold if done too fast. Figure 7 shows the angle at which the jugs grip started to fail. This was not due to the materials lack of grip but the fact the weight of the jug itself has shifted over the point of its centre of gravity.

The following were more comments given by my colleague:

  • The heat of the boiling water was bearable but over time and more use it was getting uncomfortable, so using thicker Dycem to remove excess heat would be beneficial.
  • Having the handle there was good as it provide support for the hand whilst using the jug, so having something to at least lock in index finger is needed.
  • The Dycem material would need to cover enough of the jug to fit the top range of hand sizes.
  • Pouring was possible but without the handle the correct angle couldn’t be achieved.


Another Development:

These images shows this developed idea and includes the following:

  • A support ‘handle’ so that the fingers can easily slide underneath and be supported when operating the jug.
  • A strip of Dycem on the rear of the jug to cover the palm of then hand, providing grip and stability for the user.
  • A deep enough area so that people with larger hands can use the jug.

Again collecting feedback from colleagues, here are a few things that need to be worked on for the next development:

  • Consider width of the Dycem material to allow grip on the fingers and thumb not just the palm
  • Think of the material underneath and how it will attach to the materials.
  • Look at the handle and see if it can be made more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Could the handle be made to fit the hand perfectly for the user?

This product need further development to come to a much better conclusion and getting a response from those who suffer from arthritis would be beneficial in finding out how they would use the product.

Understanding Arthritic Grip

So this time i really wanted to understand what it wold be like to have arthritis, or ate least a reduced amount of grip in my hands. From my research I found simply making a fist was difficult as these images show:

Curling Figiners

The image circle in Blue shows what the doctor demonstrated for the patient to copy. The images circle with Red are the patients hands. It shows that the joints in patients hands were unable to curl completely and listening to the original video lined here ( the patient was dealing with some pain when attempting to do this task.

Making a fist

The same issue was raised here, where the doctor demonstrated a fist to the patient, but when the patient attempted to make a fist, the grip was almost non existent as the doctor was able to fit 2 fingers into the hand where the grip should be at its highest.

From this i wanted to see what it would be like, to not be able to grip things as I usually do:

Removing Grip:

Figure 1 and 2 above show how my usual grip can open this jar with ease, Figures 3, 4 and 5 shows my device made from a fidget spinner and elastic bands. As shown the gadget seriously decreased my ability to make a fist, even just curling my fingers to grab anything caused an issue and the release of my finger caused minor pain as my joints tried to lock up into position.

So I moved on and attempted to open a jar:

Figures 6, 7 and 8 above showed my attempting to open the jar in different ways, first using my fingers which wasn’t very good as my finger quickly warmed up and that meant the increased sweating made me lose grip. I tried to the grip it as usual but this caused minor pain in my fingers. Then I tired using my palm, this again wasn’t very good and I was causing sweat and losing grip rapidly. As shown in figure 9 below, this task was not impossible but after opening the jar I realised that it had taken me much longer than usual and i was left with a sore sensation in my hand.

Jar 8
Figure 9

Figure 10 even shows that using my pinky finger and my thumb was better than using my three usually much stronger fingers:

jar 9
Figure 10


Ulnar Drift:
From this I thought that there isn’t just one form of arthritic deformity in the hand, Ulnar drift is another major problem. This is a deformity that causes swelling of the thumb and fingers and makes the hand bend toward towards the pinky as shown below:

UlnarDeviationlabel (

So in an attempt the replicate this, I moved my device from my three stronger fingers to my pinky as shown in Figures 11 and 12 below:

From this I wanted to see if was possible to open that same jar that I was able to earlier:

Figures 13 and 14 above show that was possible to do so; however this process took much longer and figure 15 is blurry because of my shaking hand, caused by the increased amount of pain. This was due to more pressure being put over the weaker joints in the hand and with the pull back from my device, it simple made the opening of the jar very difficult.

Their are currently products out their that aim to remove this issue:

This “Polycentric Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint™” from (ohmyarthritis) has been made using A splint to stabilize the hand and fingers. This helps reduce the pressure which helps to reduce the discomfort. This in turn allows the user to make a fist as shown in figure 18 above.
Maybe this technology is what I need to further research, to take this and adapt it into a new kind of product.

Tape and a participant:
For the next stage of this research i asked a friend to give me feedback from this process. To do so i applied a small amount of tape around each of his joints in his hand to simulate the lack of mobility caused by arthritis:

Taped up 1
Figure 19

Figure 19 shows his left hand strapped up by tape on each joint, the initial comment from him was “my joints fell restrained” showing that this demonstration works at reducing grip in the hands.

Figure 20 shows the participant pouring water from the jug into a mug:

Taped up 3
Figure 20

His comments were:

  • The tape made it harder to operate jug
  • Not being able to bend joints made it hard to hold handle
  • Maybe the handle is not the problem but the device
  • Could a cantilever system be put in place?

This idea of a cantilever would solve a lot of issues, so that heavier the product is that more it will push down. Maybe a jug can be made so that the more liquid it has in it, the easier it will be to poor and the less the user will have to lift it by to allow in to poor.


The main thing I have taken away from this exercise is that the grip given by arthritic people can’t be made much better without the use of expensive products or medication. This has made me think that the products being used should not be gripped with a handle but have a place where the hand can be inserted. For instance jugs, jars anything that requires being picked up should have a handle that allows for arthritic people to just slide their hand into it to operate, to remove any need for grip at all.