Aros for Visually Impaired Cooks

Aros is a spice dispenser designed specifically for visually impaired people to accurately dispense spices in 1/4 teaspoon quantities. Intended to be an intuitive experience for users with limited or no vision, Aros has tactile indicators, high contrast colors, and a unique form to take into account that visually impaired users tend to use their fingers rather than their thumbs. There are four simple steps when using Aros:

  1. Identify - Use braille labels and/or special textures on the top and body of the dispenser to identify the spice.
  2. Load - Locate the tab at the top of the dispenser and push it up to open. Insert the funnel by aligning bright green sections. Pour in spices. Remove funnel and close lid.
  3. Dispense - Each button push dispenses 1/4 teaspoon of spices into a storage chamber. Push the button as many times as necessary to get the desired amount. Hold Aros over your cooking, then open the tab at the bottom to release spices.
  4. Organize - Place Aros onto the organizer. Magnetic strips allow the user to feel where to place each dispenser and prevent dispensers from tipping over.

My Role - I played a large role in identifying the user scenario, market research, and competition analysis. I did the engineering for the measurement and dispensing mechanism and conducted force analyses on all mechanical components. I also created build plans for injection mold mass manufacturing and aided in the fabrication of the proof-of-concept.

Fall 2014. The Aros proof-of-concept was fabricated from 3-D printed ABS plastic and NinjaFlex, laser cut clear acrylic, steel pins, a spring, and magnets.

The Aros team: Beverly Chou (B.S.E. Mechanical Engineering), Rohan Malpani (M.S. Human-Computer Interaction), Adam Rosekelly (M.S. Architecture), and Matt Vedrin (M.S.E. Mechanical Engineering)

Competition analysis position plot
Alpha prototypes for usability testing and Kansei Engineering Analysis
Usability testing in progress
Force analysis simulation animation in ADAMS
Force analysis simulation results
Internal parts in proof-of-concept