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Clever yet elegant jar opener



Alex Matthams, a product design graduate from the University of Brighton recently impressed the Designing for the Future judges with his design for an innovative jar-opening device that deploys mechanical advantage to increase older user’s capabilities.

Kay utilises two forms of mechanical advantage to open a jar, firstly the handle, the handle provides the user with leverage to apply force and to twist the device. Secondly the planetary gear set is used to drive two sets of arms, One set grips the outer body of the jar and provides the opposite force and secures the jar, the second set of arms grip and turn the lid

Alex describes his design as follows : “The planetary gear set uses a 5:1 ratio, which will increase the users capabilities by a factor of 5. An example would be with an elderly 5th percentile women, she is only able to generate a maximum of 1nm of torque and from experiments conducted by myself it takes 4nm of torque to open the most commonly used jar measuring 65mm in diameter.  With my device the users’ capabilities are increased allowing them to generate more torque from minimal input force.

mormon dating websiteKay further addresses the key issue of stigma around how assistive aids look, with research conducted by the University of Bristol in 2002 showing that sterile and very medical looking aids that highlight someone has a disability create embarrassment for the user and lead to the aid being rejected. Kay address this issue using a contemporary colour scheme and material choice, along with modern shape that is unassociated with assistive jar opening devices and is designed not to look like a generic jar opener”.

For more information about Alex and his work, visit

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