Edward Pacey, Siew Seang Ong, Sivashankar Sivakanthan
Cooking knife-related injuries within the kitchen environment are estimated to be the second leading cause of all knife-related emergency department visits over a 20-year period. Utilizing a kitchen knife is an inherently dangerous activity for all users, even individuals with ample experience. Individuals with disabilities are taught to be mindful of sharp objects from an early age and learn to avoid them if possible, ultimately developing a sense of fear. Having an instilled understanding to avoid sharp objects along with a resulting fear may make an individual wary to use a knife, never fully learning the technique as they grow and decreasing their level of independence. CutAssist offers a solution to this fear and fosters independence within the kitchen environment for all users. Utilizing a guided-motion arm mounted to a wooden cutting board, the arm moves horizontally along a steel shaft whilst the slicing motion is performed. The arm promotes users to learn the proper method of cutting without the fear of injuring themselves by reducing the degrees of freedom available as compared to free-hand motion. An ergonomic handguard is used on the non-dominant hand to properly orient the food on the cutting board, further reducing risk of injury. Any knife can be quickly attached to the knife clamp on the arm, making it universal for all food. CutAssist was created to generate a sense of independence and self-sufficiency in the kitchen environment for individuals with disabilities and aims to have a lasting impact on their daily living.