Flare Project – Dutch Design Week 2016

Dutch Design Week

The Dutch Design Week takes place every year in October, in Eindhoven. It is the largest design event in Northern Europe and it presents works and concepts from over 2,500 designers to more than 275,000 visitors from the Netherlands and abroad. Spread over a hundred locations throughout the city, DDW includes exhibitions, lectures, awards, networking events, discussions and festivities. DDW distinguishes itself from other design events by focusing on designs for the future with a special attention given annually for work and development of young talent. Project Flare will be introduced to the world at DDW 2016.

What the project is about

Project Flare is a visual aid for the deaf and hearing impaired. In our society we often orientate on our hearing. Household appliances are based on this principal. A kettle clicks, a microwave, oven or dishwasher beeps when it’s ready. For people who are deaf or hearing impaired, these sounds are not or barely audible. For them another signal is necessary and with the Flare this is easy to solve.

The Flare is composed of two parts:

A smart plug: provides light signals

A mobile unit: provides light signals and vibrations

The smart plug is used between the household appliance and the power outlet. The plug changes color as the household appliance is in use or ready.

The mobile unit of the Flare you can easily carry with you and/or place it somewhere else. The unit communicates wireless with the smart plug and colors in the same way. In addition, the unit has a vibration function; the mobile unit vibrates when the household appliance is ready.

Therefore, the mobile unit reminds the deaf and hearing impaired that the household appliance has turned off, so they don’t need to stay near them. For example you can easily sit at the table and see/feel when the oven is ready.

How it works:

The smart plug is an adapter between the plug of the household appliance and the power outlet. The ‘ plug and play ‘ principle was used, so that it is easy to use and interact with. The following steps illustrate this:

Step 1: You put the Flare in the power outlet. The Flare colors blue as a sign that it’s ready for use.

Step 2: You put the plug of the household appliance into the Flare.

Step 3: You turn the household appliance on. The Flare colors red, which means that the household appliance is in operation.

Step 4: The household appliance turns off/is ready. The Flare colors green.

Step 5: After several minutes, the Flare colors blue again.

Project development

The project was developed by designer Edwin Kuiper and educator Marlike Schobben and was printed on a Leapfrog Creatr HS. The project will be presented at the DDW between 22 and 30 of October. You can learn more about the project, its utilities and future vision from their product presentation website.