Bottoms Up – Universal Bottle Pourer
- Rod & Mandy McCracken
- Ryan Tilley, Kyle Driscoll, No'am Geffen, Bec Pearce,
- Rylan Fraser, Nick Perillo, Jeremy Kostecki,
- Ruth Twardy, Stuart Enright, Ed Bennison,
- Natalie Rode, Joel Kuper, Nir Nikolaevsky
The ‘Bottoms Up – Universal Bottle Pourer’ is an accurate, assisted liquid pouring system suitable for pouring from various container shapes and sizes. It is designed to provide individuals with a wide range of disabilities with an increased independence in pouring liquids.
There are many conditions that hinder an individual from completing the simple task of pouring liquids – a task that the vast majority of people take for granted. In Australia alone, there are an estimated 34000 individuals with Cerebral Palsy, 9000 upper-limb amputees, 23000 persons with Multiple Sclerosis, and 110000 people living with varying degrees of Parkinson’s disease. Hence, there are an estimated 176000 people (not considering other conditions resulting in muscle weakness, spasms, fatigue or visual impairment) that have great difficulty pouring liquids due to the weight of liquid, varying shapes of bottles and the rigid nature of prosthesis.
The ‘Bottoms Up – Universal Bottle Pourer’ is a world-first in accurate, assisted liquid pouring. It has the potential to have a profound impact on a variety of disabilities and conditions – empowering individuals with a range of disabilities by providing increased independence and control. It combines considered, sleek aesthetics with simple, intuitive function. This is how Assistive Technology (AT) should be. Not second-rate, utilitarian products, but something that the individual is proud to be using – looking like any other regular kitchen appliance and is providing the independence and lifestyle that they require.
Typically, many individuals who use AT products do not esteem the products that they use – rather hide them away after use, due to the basic aesthetics of the products.
The function of the device is fundamental; however, the aesthetics and user perception of the product were also a core part of the design considerations and development process. The aim was to create a desirable and attractive device that meets all functional requirements. The Bottle Pourer now stays on Mandy’s (pictured) kitchen bench and is just like any other regular kitchen appliance, often acting as a talking piece for visitors.
Current liquid pouring solutions still require the user to manually pour liquids from a specifically designed container. A 15-person team including, amputees, designers, engineers, prosthetic technicians and occupational therapists developed the product using video/motion tracking to understand the mechanics of a pouring action, and replicated this motion using precision stepper motors for accuracy of the device to reduce any spillage. A specially-shaped cradle was designed to accommodate a wide variety of standard bottle shapes and sizes (wine, milk, juice etc), allowing them to be easily taken in and out, omitting the need for mechanical fastening to secure the containers.
To ensure that the user experience was intuitive, and the device accommodated for a wide a range of disabilities, the following features were included:
– A simple user interface to accurately control a custom pour “START” “STOP” “RESET”
– Backlit buttons and tactile feedback to assist individuals with low vision
– A wide and solid base provides ample stability for pouring larger vessels.
– The compact design of the device ensures that it has a small footprint.
– Non-slip cradle grips the bottle by simply placing the bottle into the cradle – can be used with very limited dexterity.