Simon Kinneir creates tilting Leaven jug for visually impaired users

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British product designer Simon Kinneir has created a prototype jug that tilts as it fills up, as part of a series of kitchen products designed for users with sight loss (+ movie).

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
As the Leaven jug fills up its balance changes, causing it to tip forward slightly so a user knows when it is nearly full

The Leaven jug features a slanted container made of stainless steel, suspended in a tubular metal framework with an angled base. As the jug is filled up its balance changes, causing it to tip forward slightly so a user touching its frame knows when it is nearly full.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
Hot pans can be secured on hobs using the magnetically fixed buffers

The product was designed as part of Kinneir's attempts to use "subtle sensory feedback" to assist people with visual impairment.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
Kinneir designed handles to reassure users that they have the right piece of cutlery, the right way up

"If somebody has sight loss, it's not black and white," said the designer. "If someone has hearing loss, we don't have to make huge iterations to our environments products and services, but actually we can give subtle cues and people can work with those."



The entire jug can also be lifted up using its exterior framework, giving the user a better grip and a wider handle to take hold of. Kinneir is also working on a second prototype that will give similar feedback when filled up from a tap.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
Mugs with thumb-shaped indentations are more sensitive to temperature change to let the user know when to stop pouring

The jug is part of the designer's Leaven series of homeware, all of which has been created for people with poor eyesight.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
White and black markings on glasses help them stand out against the different backgrounds

The range incorporates a mug with a thumb-shaped indentation, which uses temperature to let the user know when to stop pouring. A range of plates with raised lips are designed to help owners scoop up food without spilling it.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
Plates with raised lips catch food when eating to stop it spilling over

Kinneir is currently working at The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at London's Royal College of Art, researching ways that more products can be developed to help 12 to 18 year olds with sight loss live more independently.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
To provide confidence to partially sighted users, knives feature indents with black lines at the top of the handle

"Self-confidence in the kitchen improves self-sufficiency for people with sight loss," he said. "Whether through temperature, sound, or movement, these products amplify active processes in the task at hand."

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
Grooves on the chopping board helps to hold food still and guide the knife while cutting

The Leaven series was shown in New York at last year's International Food Design Conference, which ran from 5 to 7 November 2015.

Leaven range by Simon Kinneir
Kinneir is currently researching ways that more products can be developed to help 12 to 18 year olds with sight loss live more independently

Similarly, a team from the University of Colorado Boulder recently used 3D printing to create tactile versions of famous books for children with sight impairment.


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