Here is another great piece on innovation in one of the most important rooms in the house – the kitchen. And as with many of the other innovations in this area that we have shared here on EID it comes from Northern Europe. In this case from a partnership between IKEA, Lund University, and Eindhoven University – with an assist from that fantastic source of design thinking – IDEO.
The design students spent months researching people’s attitudes about cooking and eating and how the world of food might change over the next decade. After the students came up with more than 20 visions for future kitchens—from a shared community kitchen for city neighborhoods to an interactive chef’s hat that teaches kids to cook through games—Ideo built a working prototype.
Universal design is an important concept for all of us who practice human factors and ergonomics. What I value most about universal design is that it does not treat people with limitations as fundamentally different populations, but rather simply at the tail end of a distribution that we all fall somewhere along. It is not the case that non-disabled have 100% of their working memory capacity or vigilance and the cognitively challenged all have the same smaller amount. It is not the case that non-disabled have 100% bicep strength or aerobic capacity and the physically challenged all have the same smaller amount. Some people fall high on the distribution, some medium, some lower. The disabled may fall lower on some distributions, but are just as likely to be higher on other distributions.