Blender-Tipper

Designers: Kevin Mauro, Fiona Pu, Melina Smith

Supervising Professor: Dr. Larry Bohs

Figure 1. The Blender-Tipper, comprised of (1) base, (2) pillars, (3) L-shaped rod, (4) C-clamp, (5) bungee cord, and (6) winged-nut screw.

Figure 1. The Blender-Tipper, comprised of (1) base, (2) pillars, (3) L-shaped rod, (4) C-clamp, (5) bungee cord, and (6) winged-nut screw.

INTRODUCTION

For individuals like our client who live with hemiplegia or partial paralysis, tasks that may seem trivial, such as lifting and pouring liquid from a container, can become complex and burdensome processes.  Our client is a middle-aged female with partial paralysis in her right arm and full paralysis in her left arm.  She enjoys making smoothies each week; however, lifting and pouring a blender full of smoothie is a precarious maneuver.  To address this need, we have designed the ‘Blender-Tipper’, a kitchen-friendly device that grips a full blender, lifts it off its base, rotates the blender, and finally empties its contents into a container.  The user only needs to secure the blender within an ergonomic clamp and rotate an extended lever to operate the device.  Our device remains stationary on a countertop, is completely washable, and averts mishaps by fixing the blender in place should the user let go of the lever during the pouring process.  Our client is able to operate our device with safe, durable and easy-to-operate functionality. 0.61kg ± 4.9% force from the user is required to lift 1.5L of water. Waste leftover in the blender is within 1% of total weight of smoothie. We expect that individuals with upper limb hemiplegia will find the intuitive, effective nature of the Blender-Tipper of significant use in their daily lives.

SUMMARY OF IMPACT

Our client will use the Blender-Tipper at least once a week to make her weekly batch of smoothies.  The device allows her to perform the pouring process quickly and more reliably, eliminating any worry of spilling the blender contents and minimizing the risk of arm strain.  Because the Blender-Tipper is designed to grip containers of varying sizes, our client may find additional uses for the device when pouring other containers in her kitchen.  Our client is very pleased with the device and has affirmed that it meets all of the needs and wants she has specified.  Her physical therapist added, “I am so glad that you all solved this dilemma for [the client]!  I am sure [the client] is very grateful.”

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION

The Blender-Tipper (Figure 1) is comprised of a base, two pillars, an L-shaped rod with a handle, a C-clamp with a clamping trigger and an unclamping trigger, a bungee cord, and a winged-nut adjustable screw. The device measures 17.875in (L) x 15in (W) x 12.5in (H) in size and 10.87 lbs. in weight.  Our client is able to lift the device and move it around on the kitchen counter.  She can store it on the counter, as it fits underneath the cabinets above the counter; however, she may need assistance if she wants to occasionally store the device in the cabinets underneath the counter.

The base of the Blender-Tipper is composed of a 0.5-in sheet of white high-density polyethylene (HDPE), measuring 17.875in (L) x 15in (W).  It provides stability to keep the device upright, preventing the device from falling over as it lifts and rotates the full blender. For additional stability, we have included a mat of red Dycem non-slip material, cut to be slightly larger than the base, which can be placed underneath the device rendering it immovable.  Dycem is thin, flexible material that is tacky to the touch and thus ideal for nonslip purposes.

The two pillars are 3in (L) x 1.5in (W) x 12in (H) bars of white HDPE.  The pillars provide vertical height and fundamental support for the lift-and-tilt mechanism executed by the L-shaped rod.  Both pillars have 1-in diameter holes, positioned 7.75in above the base, through which the L-shaped rod is threaded.  The thickness of the pillars provides support for the rod as it rotates within each pillar.  We have chosen HDPE for its durability and its density, because it provides the weight necessary to stabilize the device.  To add further safety to the device, all of the edges of the base and pillars are rounded, so they are soft to the touch.

The L-shaped rod is made of a hollow, aluminum rod that is 1-in in diameter.  It is bent in an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees, creating one 24-in arm and one 14.75-in arm. The longer arm is inserted into the pillars and serves as the axis of rotation for the lift-and-tilt mechanism.  The shorter arm serves as the lever with which the user may rotate the rod.  A bicycle handle grip is mounted at the end of the lever arm, which creates an ergonomic handle for the user to grip when rotating the rod.

The C-clamp is a DeWALT 6-in medium trigger clamp (Model # DWHT83139).  The clamp can be operated entirely with one hand, which is imperative for our client.  It has a 3-in throat depth, allowing it to securely grip the blender at its widest point.  Further, it has removable pads on the jaws of the clamp, which create better contact between the clamp and the object being clamped. When the clamp tightens its grip around the blender, the pads hug the sides of the blender, creating sufficient friction for the clamp to securely and reliably lift the blender.  Additionally, we have extended the unclamping trigger to match the length of the clamping trigger and added a bicycle handle grip to the unclamping trigger, which makes the unclamping process much easier for our client.

The bungee cord is 24-in long and is tied in a loop around the blender and its motor base.  The bungee cord can be lifted up with one hand and placed around the top of the blender, keeping the lid sealed onto the blender.  With the lid held in place by the bungee cord, our client is then free to operate the blender with only one hand, without any worry of the lid flying off during blending.

The winged-nut screw is 3-in long and has a rubber tip on its end.  The screw is inserted into one pillar such that its tip hits the side of the rotating rod held within the pillar.  The interface between the rod and the tip of the screw generates friction when the user rotates the rod.  This friction opposes the direction of rotation, which slows the movement of the rod, giving the user more precise control when rotating the lever and pouring out the blender.  Using the winged nut, the screw can be adjusted within the pillar so that it presses either more tightly or loosely against the rod, resulting in more or less resistance, respectively.  The adjustable screw provides a graded resistance mechanism that allows our client to lift and pour blenders with fine control throughout the lifetime of the device.

The replacement cost of the Blender-Tipper is $115.

Figure 2. Client using the Blender-Tipper to pour smoothie out of blender and into pitcher.

Figure 2. Client using the Blender-Tipper to pour smoothie out of blender and into pitcher.

 

Comments are closed.