Space Mealbox

3D Product Prototyping

Collaborative work with Xiaofan Xu

About the Project

Xiaofan Xu and I participated in Space Design Contest sponsored by Pinshape with the project in January and won Honorable Mention. The contest prompt was to build a tool for astronauts, putting ourselves in their shoes. After watching videos about astronauts' lives on space, I decided to focus on improving their eating experience. I lead the design ideation process and designed the 3D model of the spoon/scooper with Blender. I also took photos of our final prints and produced visual presentations when we uploaded on Pinshape.


View Project on Pinshape

Project Goal

To understand how microgravity impacts on astronauts’ lifestyle, we watched a series of Youtube videos by Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space. In this video, Chef David Chang was invisted to create a recipe for the astronauts, but Chris Hadfield commented that the recipe was ”virtually impossible to make here in space,” because every package has to be eaten one by one otherwise they'll float everywhere.

Inspired by this video, we decided to design specialized tableware for astronauts to improve their eating experience in space. Here are our two major goals:

  1. Design a food scooper that can allow the astronauts scoop and eat food from containers without having any food flying around.
  2. Design a food container that can mix all food from one recipe together to create a mixed flavor, like what we can have on earth.


Besides the major goals, we also set other standards for astronauts' convenience:

Ideation

Initial sketch of the spoon
Initial sketch of the container

I was looking for objects whose structure would allow people to grab and push out things inside with one hand, then I was inspired by the design of a USB flash drive. Another advantage of a flash drive's structure is that it designs the distance of the "male" plug exactly with each push -- that saves users' time from extra thinking. Similarly I designed the front end to be approximately one bite size.

The container was inspired by a shaker. The difference from the BlenderBottle and our case is that protein shake dissolves powder in liquid, while our mixing process mostly involves food ingredients. Users need to control how mixed the food is and push the food out. Therefore we designed a "platform" at the bottom of the container and added a "ring" at the back of the platform for users to control. The outside pattern was inspired by a golf ball, which will make it less slippery for astronauts to grab.

Final Design and Print