THE BIGGEST DICTATOR OF FORM WAS HOW BEST TO MEASURE THE WATER IN THE KETTLE
Coming into Semester Two, the most pressing issue for the project was how best to measure the volume of water contained in the kettle and whether this was measured as water was added, or once the user had finished filling the kettle.
Initial ideas included using positive displacement technology, such as a nutating disk meter, or oval gears, and based upon the rotation of these parts, determining the flow of water in and out of the product in live time. However, the concerning issue with both these technologies was the potential for the moving parts to quickly clog due to limescale and may have caused back flow if the water didn’t pass through the system quickly enough.
In order to ideate broader than measuring water as it passes in and out, the use case scenario was revisited, concentrating on the different ways and at which points were appropriate for communicating the volume to the user.
As this process was developed, the use case began to suggest that measuring the volume of water when placed on the base was sufficient to help blind users, opening up the prospect of using an FSR or similar to measure mass and calculate volume.
Along with this came the development of a number of design features, such as curvature to create a more limited arc of the spout, and the flow directing system, eventually becoming integral to the aesthetic design.
This use case exploration also resulted in the electronics being housed in the base, rather than within the kettle as originally envisaged, as this required less data communication between the kettle and base, greatly reducing the complexity of the power dock and socket.