Introduction:

The Easy Jar closer was specifically chosen as our Senior Design project considering a dire need of such a product which was not available in the market. The idea was brought up by many residents at Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation (CPRF) that they had a lot of trouble with the tightly mounted lids on jars and it is really hard for them to open as well as close them. So our team researched and we figured out that there were products in market that can open the lids but none which can close them. That was the  point when we decided to help solve this problem for these residents using our Engineering background and knowledge and make this as our Senior Design Project.  The Easy Jar Closer is meant to assist people with limited hand mobility. It’s purpose to close jars with no more physical input from the user than simply a flip of a switch.  The extremely powerful rotating curvature handles grips the lid of the jar from both sides while another handle grips the base to avoid movement and closes the jar smoothly with a clockwise rotation.   

There are three factors that helped us evaluate the testing of this device:
1. Does the product helps solve the signified problems of the Residents/Other people considering their hand mobility?
2. Are they going to use the product as part of their daily routine ?
3. Does the device truly work  and close the jars?

The significance of successful result is the answer YES to all the above questions. So far the responses from the participants were very close to consider this Project/Testing as successful. We used the Q & A methodology to help us evaluate the the usability of this product.

Methodology and Participants:

We conducted two very similar evaluations from different participants. The response were taken from a resident at CPRF, Sherry Rose (we had close interaction with this resident throughout the project) and other responses were evaluated by the visitors on our table at the exploration place and surveying random people on campus.

Participant : Sherry Rose

  1. Date of study: 12th Febrauary 2013 (Pre Questionnaire), 26th November 2013 (Post Questionnaire)
  2. # of participants: 1
  3. How were participants chosen: We were specifically working with sherry on this project
  4. What were the participants told? She was asked about the helpfulness of the product in her life. How can she benefit from the product along with a visual representation of the device.
  5. How were participants’ responses evaluated? The responses were jotted down in Q & A format which can be read below.

Concept Test Questions: ( Pre-Questionnaire)

1) Are there any problems you encounter throughout the day that you wish there was a solution to?
A: Many times I have difficulties opening and closing bottles or jars. My grip strength isn’t good enough to be able to open/close many lids on the jar.

Multiple residents responded similarly:
It would be great to have a device in the kitchen that would open and close bottles and jars for me as I am not always able to grip tight enough to do so.

2) How many times in a day would you use this product?
A: Frequently, 2-3 times

3) Does this product give you an improvement in quality of life?
A: Yes

4) Do you think the price of the competitors product is to high, low, or justified?
A: Consumer thought the existing product was priced okay but would be willing to pay up to 100 for a product with the features she needed.

5) Are there people other than CPRF residents that could benefit from this product?
A: Yes, elderly with extreme grip strength issues.

6) What alternatives to this product are you currently using, if any?
A: Just the Black and Decker product but not using it anymore.

7) Is this an improvement on your existing solution to the problem?
A: Yes, the closing feature and the increased capacity

8) What type of lids do you have difficulty with?
A: The gallon milk jug/Nutella Jars.

9) What are your must haves for this product?
A: Open/Close lids on the jar. Possible battery operation.

Evaluation Questions: ( Post-Questionnaire)

1) What type of lids do you have difficulty with?
A: Any kind of jars

 2) How many times in a day would you use this product?
A: 4-5 times. Now that I know I have this product I will use it A lot.

 3) Does this product benefits you ?
A: Yes. I just Love it.

 4) Future Perspective of the device?
A: Open/Close in the same unit. Mounted in to a frame so I don’t have to lift it up. Make it a box and put the mechanism on top of it so I can just put the jar in the device and it will do the rest of the job.

5) Do you like the user Interface?
A: Reduce it down two buttons; power button and and open/close button. Too many buttons are confusing for me. Other than that you can label the buttons. Make the power button glow so I have the idea if its ON/OFF.

6) What is your feedback/How do you evaluate this product?
A: I like it and it works great. THIS PRODUCT IS SWEET. Make it open/close at the same time. 

Participant : Visitors on our table at the Exploration Place

  1. Date of study: 23rd November 2013 (Exploration Place for Post Questionnaire)
  2. # of participants: 20
  3. How were participants chosen: Some of the participants were the visitors who showed up at our table at the Exploration Place. (Our project was an attraction for the older people who were very excited to see the product work.) Other participants were randomly chosen people on Campus.
  4. What were the participants told? The team walked each participant through the training and demonstration of the product. Then they were asked if they have a similar problem due to less mobility and how this product will help them in their daily routine. The participants were also told about the website that has the theory of operation if they want to check back on how the device works. 
  5. How were participants’ responses evaluated? The responses were jotted down in Q & A format which can be read below.

Training and Procedures:

A one to one working demonstration of how the product was given to each participant. The first thing we told them was this product is only design to close the lid on the jar. A jar opener which is available in market was also demonstrated which they can use to open the lids after they have closed them. The participant were explained every minute detail of the procedure and they were told about the “Theory of Operation” page which has operation steps with proper images. The demonstration includes the mounting of the device, walking them through the process of each button, the mechanics of the device, the process to change batteries which is also listed as a troubleshooting step in the website along with the images, the approximate time for the device to close the lid and the arms to go back to their stretch position before the user can take off the device from the top of the lid, demonstration of why the reset button is included, the participant was allowed to hold the device in their hands to check for the weight of the device. The participants responses were noted down and later were asked to provide their feedback whether they will want to use a similar product or they want to see such a product in their kitchen.

Results:

The results were jotted down from the total of 21 participants (Including Sherry Rose) and they are displayed as below in a chart.

 

 

Reflection:

These are the areas where further implementation on this project can be proposed and if a future team wants to work and ellaborate this project, these areas will be the ones where the work should be done for a chance of improvement.

  • Out of 21 recipients who were asked about the Usability of this device, 5 answered that they want to see improvement in the device. The suggestion they proposed was to make this device close lids of any size. Currently Lid sizes between 1.5 inches to 4 inches can work. Milk jars have small lids that are very tightly mounted were the favorite choice of most of the participants and they want to see the device close lid of milk jugs. Also plastic bottle lids were the second favorite. 
  • Out of 21 recipients who were asked about the Effortless of this device, 6 answered that they want to see improvement in the device. The further suggestion was instead of mounting the device on to the lid on the jar, a platform with a solid base is to be created so that the jar whose lid is to be closed can be put underneath the platform and with a push of button the lid is closed.
  • Out of 21 recipients who were asked about the Portability of this device, 2 answered that they want to see improvement in the device. According to them, the Jar closer was a bit heavy for them to lift up so instead of using the Plexiglas as the top material, use plastic similar to the Jar Opener device. 
  • Out of 21 recipients who were asked about the User Interface of this device, 5 answered that they want to see improvement in the device. They suggested to use less buttons (Reduce three to two buttons). They wanted to get rid of reset button and have the algorithm check for the Reset. Some also suggested to have the ON/OFF button glow when the device is ON. The buttons were also to be labelled for easy handling of the device. An LCD that tells the user wait time before they can take the device off from the lid. 
  • Out of 21 recipients who were asked about the Functionality of this device, 9 answered that they want to see improvement in the device. Almost all of those participants wants the device to OPEN as well as CLOSE the lid. Even if the device cost them $100, they were willing to keep at as an household item in their kitchen for daily use. “It’s better for me if this works both ways. I don’t have to carry two separate devices.” A participant responded. Other functions included, open lid of all kinds and sizes of the jars.