MIT Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering | Design Minor



Easy Access Oven Rack - Rise
Student - Fall 2019



By design, ovens put a user in an uncomfortable lifting position. Actions such as bending over to lift a heavy item from a hot oven can be even more difficult and dangerous for people with limited mobility than for those who are able-bodied. Rise aims to eliminate these barriers to oven use. I worked in a group of 18 students in the class, Product Engineering Processes, to design Rise. Rise is integrated into an oven design and liscensed to a manufacturing company. A motor drives a tensioned cable system to slide the rack holder out horizontally and thenlift it by rotating upward. Using a speed controller, the system can maintain a constant lifting speed. Rise has a maximum load of 40 pounds which is about double the weight of an average turkey.
A seven-bar linkage system was used in the preliminary design. The mechanism was activated opening the oven door. User research revealed that they did not want to activate the mechanism every time they opened the door. Additionally, the linkage system was considered too complicated to continue to persue.
A further design utilized a counterweight system to decrease the force that a user would need to input to lift a rack out of the oven. However, this mechanism was not able to account for differing weights.
Of three designs displayed at a finalizing design review, the images to the left inspired the final chosen design. This design is a four-bar linkage system that would slide out horizontally while rotating upwards. The mechanism would be actuated by a motor using a button. This system was later improved upon for the final design.

Rise utilizes a dual-stage mechanical system, composed of sliders, linkages, and a rack holder. The mechanism is made out of stainless steel and is designed to withstand up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. It is actuated by a motor that sits behind the insulated oven interior. If a user attempts to utilize Rise without the door fully open, a limit switch on the oven door detects that it’s not safe to actuate Rise and inhibits the function of the motor.
 
The image to the left is of Rise within the oven interior. The sliding motion is due to conical rollers shown in the image to the right that self-correct, as train wheels do.
All racks are removable. The rising racks include clear silicon covers to ensure that the food does not slide while in motion. Wrapped in a blue silicon cover, a raised lip at the front of each rising rack is also included as a backup safety feature for slipping foods. 

The buttons in the image directly below activate Rise wirelessly. Therefore, a user can mount the device in a place most convenient for them. In the image below and to the right is a button integrated directly into the oven that can be used as a substitute for the wireless remote.
           
For the final presentation, I performed the on-stage demonstration. I joined the stage with 3 others who presented user research, mechanical design, and market projections.
The presentation was held in a theater that is filled with approximately 1100 guests. Additionally, 70,000 unique IPs watched an online live stream of the presentation. The core of Rise is to elevate an oven user’s experience by redefining inclusivity and convenience in the kitchen.