Gaia Group USA and the Dinnovation Team are proud to share the first and second place winning designs from our 2018 Dinnovation Student Design Competition. Our first place winner was BLD Dinnerware, designed by Dylan Fealtman from Georgia Institute of Technology, which takes a sophisticated stand on dinnerware for the visually impaired. The second place winner is the Arc Plate designed by Shahd Zubier from Rochester Institute of Technology, which enhances control and stability for toddlers.

First Place: BLD Dinnerware, Dylan Fealtman
Design Statement

Bill is a sixty-five-year-old man who has been visually impaired for most of his life. One of the biggest troubles Bill faces when eating is keeping his food on his plate. BLD dinnerware solves this problem by eloquently adding curves to the edges of the bowl and plate so that Bill can focus less on making a mess, and more on enjoying his food.

In addition, Bill never knows when his cup is filled up to the brim. To solve this he burns his index finger every morning when pouring his hot coffee. Instead, BLD Dinnerwareʼs cup plays with Bills enhanced sense of hearing by creating “grates” at the top of the cup so that water can safely overflow into the sides making a noise similar to a waterfall. This way all Bill has to do is listen when to stop pouring. Most importantly though, BLD Dinnerware retains the dignity of its users through its sophisticated design allowing Bill to receive the respect he deserves.


My design process began with statistical research and learning more about people who were visually impaired. I then looked at the dinnerware competition that was present on the market. After I had a better working knowledge of blindness, I visited Bill at The Center for the Visually Impaired. I asked him lots of questions and watched how he interacted with dinnerware in general. I took a lot of what he said and moved into sketching exploration.

I wanted to test some of my sketches and see if they translated to comfortable proportions by making rapid foam core models. I then refined those models, used Solidworks to CAD my ideas, and 3D printed final models. Lastly, I took those models back to Bill to see his reaction and to get feedback for further design implications.

If my dinnerware was to be manufactured, each piece would be made of a semi-gloss ceramic material. The cupʼs two-part design would connect using metal threads that would twist together.


SECOND PLACE: Arc Plate, Shahd Zubier

Toddlers who are learning how to self-feed using utensils, may struggle with stability of hand movements making the overall experience overwhelming. Arc is for toddlers (1-3 years) who are learning to feed themselves and get frustrated while eating when their performance is not successful. Arc is also for parents who are struggling with teaching their children to feed themselves and concerned about their children’s performance when eating.