2024
Alex Dudfield
Product Design BSc
Interaction
Rheo
Picture of current MIB team

Project Description

Current estimates of those living with dysphagia stand at 590 Million worldwide, requiring a texture modified diet as a result to ensure safe swallowing. Thickening agents aim to ensure this through reducing the flow of liquid, enabling those living with the conditions to control the liquid bolus, preventing choking and more seriously, death from aspiration pneumonia. With these drinks prescribed to four distinct thickness levels, ranging from thin to extremely thick, it is essential that these drinks fall within the correct band to prevent the aforementioned consequences. Concerningly, once prepared, thickened drinks often fluctuate between viscosity levels, leaving caregivers unaware of the intended consistency without repeated testing. This necessitates an awareness that the thickness of a drink may change over time. Lacking visual cues, caregivers may overlook the need for testing, resulting in the inadvertent administration of incorrect viscosity drinks, posing potentially fatal risks to recipients. With no current testing equipment alerting caregivers of thickness change, Rheo aims to empower caregivers with this knowledge. Utilising continual mixing to ensure a lump free drink, a magnetic impeller located at the base of the cup takes live viscosity readings, projecting this to caregivers through a sliding viscosity scale, promptly indicating users whether drinks are too thin, too thick, or at the correct viscosity level for safe swallowing. Through such discreet testing, Rheo aims to re-establish dignified mealtimes for those living with dysphagia, without the need of drawing attention to testing, disrupting the flow of mealtimes.