Designer of kitchenware for the blind hopes to nab Dyson prize

Singapore designer Kevin Chiam has created a range of kitchen tools for the blind. A James Dyson Award nominee, Chiam created his Folks range using sensory feedback and tactile cues to allow the visually-impaired to cook with confidence.

REUTERS (SINGAPORE) - Kevin Chiam wants to make cooking easier and safer for the blind and visually impaired.

He's designed a range of safe, inexpensive, kitchen utensils.

"Cooking is a huge challenge for people without vision, and hence I designed a set of kitchenware that is simple to use, that leverages on tactile cues to sort of guide them along the process of cooking," said Mr Chiam who is the designer of the Folks Kitchenware for the Blind. 

This knife is fitted with a detachable plastic guard. 

"When you cut into the ingredient the blade lifts and essentially the tap informs the user that the guide is up and that it's dangerous at the bottom, and by doing a simple motion you can clean off the excess ingredient. But more importantly, because there is a guard here the user knows where the knife is, where the blade is, and thus they'll avoid the sharp edges," said Mr Chiam said.

An attachable tray allows users to easily transfer chopped food.

While this teaspoon has a buoy to prevent spillage.

"Blind people they don't really know when to stop because water may spill over and hence they usually put their thumb on the inside. But this becomes dangerous when you're talking about hot water. So in this case what happens is I designed sort of a buoy that floats as the water rises, so the buoy will touch the finger first and the user will know," Mr Chiam said.

He's also invented attachable stove rings that help avoid burns and a saucepan lid that stores utensils on top. 

Chiam is working with a Singapore firm to bring his range to market.

He's in the running for the prestigious James Dyson Award for design, to be announced in November.