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Hotbite
Self-heated lunchbox

Master Thesis


"Hotbite" is a line of lunch boxes that heats its contents to help you avoid the long microwave queues at workplaces and personalize hygiene by negating the usage of dirty microwaves.

With models designed for regular and soup meals, it
meets the nutritional goals of its users with homemade meals and a sustainable approach to takeaways.
Compared to existing solutions, "Hotbite" steps up the game through its
innovative shape & modular design
by offering freedom of quality meals.

The Problem

LONG microwave queues

& close proximity

Average lunch-break lasts 20-35 minutes

45% employees dissatisfied with lunch-break duration

40% employees find their lunch unhealthy

40% employees spend 5 - 10 € every-day on lunch

85% Night-shift workers have no ext. meal choices

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Target Group

Different budgets & lifestyles

Office
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On-road
professionals

On-site
professionals

Construction Workers
Lecture
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University

students/staff

Users with
diet restrictions 

Office
professionals

Reflecting with COVID-19 

Most contaminated surfaces in workspaces are microwave handles, not toilet seats.* Although our immune system would take care of this under usual circumstances, COVID-19 has made utmost hygiene relevant.

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Market
Analysis

- Available products are expensive, heavy & bulky

- Designs lack quality & friendliness

QFD analysis helped to make the product's placement in the market more effective.

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CONCEPTS

starting with a box,

- Traditional design

 -Invoking familiarity with glass

Problem
High heat-loss i.e. inefficient at heating.

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Exploring solar-energy

Inspired by portable solar ovens from GoSun,
solar energy is sustainable but weather dependent.

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From "Making a box" to "Using a box"

and discovering nuances in food-packaging

I found that the radius of a quick meal's container matched perfectly with the spoon and made scooping its contents effortless.

Hence, it drove me to ideate with a form beyond the boxy profile of lunchboxes and observe how we ate from it.

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As the food contents reduce,
we start scooping it from the closest corner.

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FINDING the right curvature

by "thinking out of the box"

Different radius for different cutlery?

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Implementing a tighter radius at a corner to make scooping easier.

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Tactile & informative
interface

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Modular power inputs

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Shifting interface position

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Ergonomic

Modular

Easy

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Backyard R&D

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Feasibility of IoT technology was evaluated by,

- Learning Python to program an ESP32 kit (M5stickC)

- Creating a closed-loop system with a temperature sensor

- Linking to an app for remote control

Testing the Peltier module for designing a lunchbox with compartments for cold and warm meals.
 

It was disregarded due to its energy inefficiency.

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CES Edupack to narrow down materials with,

- Low thermal conductivity

- High service temperature (up to 200 °C)

- Recyclable & Safe for food contact

- Ability to use molding & thermoforming

Effective battery choice
(size vs weight)

Power requirements of the self-heating lunch-box were estimated by calculating the energy needed to heat up 850mL water from 5°C to 70°C. i.e. 66.6Wh with a 100W heating element powered for 40min.

 

Since 70Wh energy is available in 21700 x 4 cells or 18650 x 6 cells, either combination can be used.

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Learnings

The recently completed master thesis was in the newly established area of self-heating lunchboxes.
Being a consumer-product design, I approached it from every foreseeable angle.
From evaluating the competition, defining the market position, designing for mass-production, selecting correct polymers/materials to function in a high-temperature environment, developing an easy user-interface, to learning to program in Python for making an IoT based functional prototype, and last but not least, defining a complete experience for the targeted users with an iconic form language.

It was gratifying to be in the process of simultaneously learning and applying.