Navigate / search

Making a Difference: Design of an Ergonomic Knife for People with Disabilities

Student Team:                                                                     

Camile Colon Rivas, Industrial Engineering Senior Student

                          Carlos McCormack Padial,  Industrial Engineering Senior Student

Faculty Mentors:                                                                                                                         

 María Irizarry, PhD

 Cristina Pomales, PhD

 Mayra Méndez, PhD

Project Synopsis:

Making the Difference: Design of an Ergonomic Knife for People with Disabilities is part of a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that seeks to benefit adults with disabilities. Currently, most of the kitchen tools that are in the market are designed for people without physical disabilities. It is for this reason that the main purpose of this particular project is to design a specialized kitchen knife grip for a person with physical disabilities in order to help the subject be the most independent as possible while taking into consideration the price and accessibility. For the development of this idea, a 32 years old woman with cerebral palsy, spasticity and scoliosis volunteered as the participant for which the prototype was constructed.  The project was divided into three different phases: Product Design, Prototype Construction, and Product Validation. In the Product Design phase, the participant’s force, grip, and motor limitations in her hands were taken into consideration. Pahl and Beitz Methodology, combined with an Ergonomic Evaluation, Anthropometric measures, and a Morphological analysis were used during the first phase which ended with three different ideas from which one final design was chosen. After the construction of the prototype an ergonomic and mechanical analysis was done in order to ensure the safety. Validation considering the physical limitations of the participant was performed resulting in great user satisfaction. A job-order costing system was used to estimate the knife’s production cost. The cost to manufacture the prototype was $350.42, which includes $296.24 in labor for the Computer Aided design drafts. The estimated cost for reproducing the unit is $54.18.  This project was supported by the National Science Foundation contract CBET-1403753, “Making the Difference: An Industrial Engineering Capstone Design Experience to Benefit Adults with Disabilities.”

Use the following link to access: Blueprints and User Manual

Colón, C. and McCormack,C. (2016) Design of an Ergonomic Knife for People with Disabilities, Project Poster
Colón, C. and McCormack,C. (2016) Design of an Ergonomic Knife for People with Disabilities, Project Poster