OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Providing hot meals to elderly people living independently with Dementia; each day, every day.

A refrigerator & induction cooker combined into a safe, automated package, giving peace of mind that your loved one has had a hot meal daily

Photo of Amil Malik
0 2

Written by

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Heyt is a suite of products that combine to create a system that assists elderly people through stages 2-4 of dementia to live independently. Using existing induction cooling technology, pre-prepared meals are kept fresh, whether delivered from a local catering service, or from friends and family one day a week. Each day, a meal is pre-heated, then ejected from the device, while an audible alert is given simultaneously, to let the person know that their meal is ready.

From early research it was found that meal delivery options for the elderly who live independently are expensive, and not always available in certain areas. It was also found that Dementia can prevent a person from even remembering how to heat up a meal in a microwave, sometimes resulting in them eating just one cold meal a day. It is also extremely difficult to know if a person with Dementia has eaten or drank, as they may have forgotten themselves. Lastly, it was found that there are 26 individual steps to the preparation of a hot meal.

Therefore, from the above, research, an initial specification for the product was created:

The product must - store and chill food for a week, heat a meal every day, and notify the carer when the meal has been removed. The product should require limited human interaction, promote confidence - reduced confusion, and integrate with & enhance existing kitchen facilities.

Therefore, a non-obtrusive kitchen appliance was designed. Heyt combines the functionality of a refrigerator & induction cooker into a safe, automated package, giving you peace of mind that your loved one has had a hot meal each day, every day.

The project was carried out over the course of a single "Design Week" for a University Project.

A sealed unit keeps the meals fresh, and the product safe for people living with Dementia, and a complimentary app lets the carer know when the person under care has had their hot meal, if they have not taken, or eaten a meal, or even program when their meal should be presented to the person under care.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Initially, observations of a user suffering with Dementia within their kitchen would have to be carried out to understand how they interact within the kitchen environment. The product design could then be broken down into it's component parts to be tested. These could be tested using existing products, with a camera taking interval photos to log the user's actions, e.g. The success of an auditory notification could be tested using a timed bell or kitchen timer, with a hot meal on the counter.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Any knowledge of people who are currently living with Dementia independently, and who rely on carers for assistance with their meals. Possible ideas of how to break down the product for experience prototyping and testing, possibly with or without vulnerable users. How the product might be re-designed to be more user friendly and blend in with the user's environment better.

Tell us about your work experience:

2016 Loughborough University Design School Graduate/ Design Ergonomics (BSc)/ Exp. 1st or high 2:1 degree. Graphic Design Intern/ Into the Wood/ May 2015-June 2015 Lead Designer/ Prod Designs/ August 2014-May 2015 Product Design Intern/ CWD London/September 2013-September 2013

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Attachments (1)


Join the conversation: