Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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posted on 2021-12-07, 08:21 authored by Henley, Ethan

This paper presents a system for digitally manufacturing hyper personalised sets of cutlery for stroke patients. Stroke produces a wide variety of physical, cognitive, emotional and social effects that vary widely among individuals and may include weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, contractures and inability to rotate joints. This design addresses the factors including weakened grip strength, contracted wrist and fingers, limited range of motion in the wrist, hand tremors and lack of control. Becoming independent again is an essential stage for patients and difficulty performing standard eating tasks is a commonly reported effect after stroke, which is challenging physically and emotionally. There are existing ergonomic eating aids on the market, but none that offer personalisation for the widely different physiological effects of stroke, or that effectively integrate a sense of progression and achievement, which is the key to keeping patients motivated and confident throughout the rehabilitation process. This study investigates the way design can help reduce product related and social stigma for upper limb stroke rehabilitation patients in the use of cutlery. This research explores the way that a parametric system can be implemented to aid clinicians in identifying the individual needs of patients against a list of criteria. This design study has developed a set of cutlery that assists patients, making them feel confident and comfortable using cutlery in situations outside of their homes, as well as assisting as a therapy device. This research presents a parametric system that allows for controlling the variables relative to the design criteria based on the patient’s physiological abilities. The variables include the ability to change the diameter and size of the handle, the curve of the utensil in the (x,y) plane, the angle of the handle in the (x,z) plane and the depth of the finger groove which accommodates the index finger. The paper presents the main findings from how participants experienced stigma, clinicians feedback on the appropriateness of the cutlery designs, and how personalisation contributes to motivation within therapy.  These main findings conclude that cutlery designed for stroke patients needs to be personalised, as each patient has very individual needs according to their very individual impairments. Current cutlery does not address them all and even less address them through personalisation. The specific variables in the system need to be controlled and restricted to ensure that all 40,000 of the possible outcomes are effective.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Industrial Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

Adapt: The design of a parametric system for hyper personalised sets of cutlery for stroke patients

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Rodriguez-Ramirez, Edgar