Knife Smart [ORIGINAL]
Pitch: How can we take the guesswork out of knife sharpening? Knife Smart.
The great thing about the kitchen is that it is where art meets science. The kitchen embraces improvisation and creativity; things central to art. At the same time the kitchen utilizes measurement and chemistry.
Knife Smart brings the science into the use of knives. There are two hypotheses for how this can work, one is more affordable and would require less research.
Hypothesis 1: Pre-programing variables such as time, and predicted use will measure the lifetime of sharpness in a knife.
Hypothesis one works much like oil readers do in cars. When oil levels are displayed on the console in a car it isn’t reading the volume in the tank but rather the time in between the last oil change, which is why the person changing the oil has to hit reset.
The potential problems with this hypothesis and design would be accurately predicting use and simplicity for the user. Predicting how often the knife will be used is hard enough, but predicting what it will be cutting through is even worse. This design would require a ton of set up on the front end which would not promote simplicity.
A possible solution to the problems is if the variables of predicting use were standardized based on survey data of knife-use in the average kitchen. Standardization would sacrifice accuracy for usability.
Hypothesis 2: Confining sharpness tester technology to fit a knife block will measure the life of sharpness in a knife.
Hypothesis two takes advantage of technology most prominent with the CATRA company. The company’s technology uses cutting force measurement as a determination of edge sharpness (CATRA 2009). “The test media is a specially calibrated silicon rubber produced exclusively for CATRA,” (CATRA 2009).
The challenge here is incorporating this technology into the size of a knife block. and getting readings from each knife pushing data into software. The way the current technology works is by using cutting force as a measurement of sharpness, the lower the force needed to cut through the silicon rubber, the sharper the blade (CATRA 2009). The method of measuring presents another challenge can it measure a vertical push of a knife into a traditional knife block?
Solutions to size and vertical readings seem possible. Specifically with vertical readings the solution may be in re-thinking knife blocks and making them horizontal.
CATRA (2009). Sharpness Tester. Retrieved from http://www.catra.org/pages/products/kniveslevel1/st.htm
Casey, Mike. Sharpening Knives. Retrieved from http://www.caseyspm.com/Knives.html