Making meal time fun for children without the mess
Introduction to Engineering
4 engineering students
Our team sought out to create a spoon that reduces the amount of food spilled and is specifically designed for children between the ages 1-2 who are learning to eat by themselves using utensils.
Our team designed a spoon that incorporates a mechanical system to help stabilize the spoon in order to prevent as much spillage as possible, mainly through rotational/mobile components, and a heightened focus on the natural grip that children use. A counterweight located at the back of the spoon bowl allows the spoon to stay upright when turned 90 degrees up and down, and a second counterweight concealed at the back of the handle helps to maintain uprightness when the handle is turned 360 degrees.
We also modeled mass production of our spoon by creating silicon molds and injecting them with plastic.
We began our approach by observing children's eating behavior at the Dartmouth College Child Care Center and researching the state of the art, which we found to mostly be modeled after traditional adult spoons. Following our research, we identified the specifications for our design, which included safety, weight, anti-spillage, and cost.
We fleshed out our idea by using sketches and foam core models and then went on to create a Solidworks model of our spoon. We 3D printed the parts and were able to create a first fully functional prototype. We showed our prototype to parents and caretakers at the Child Care Center who gave us positive feedback on our product.
Based on the feedback, we created several iterations of our spoon and tested them against the state of the art to determine our product's effectiveness in reducing the amount of food spilled. Our model had the best performance in 2 out of the 3 tests, as you can see in the results on the right.
Through our design process, we were ultimately able to produce a safe, functional design.
Making spoon molds
Testing food spillage against state-of-the-art