Rocking ToasterApril 2021
Duration: 3 Weeks
Single slice toaster that aims to challenge conventional modes of interaction. The visual and dynamic feedback of the toaster’s active state brings a unique consciousness and engagement in an often-overlooked part of the morning routine. Reframes our relationship with the objects in our lives by challenging the paradigm of “seamless,” “invisible” products meant to take up as little presence in our lives as possible.
Final physical artifact comprised of “band/shell” component modeled in SolidWorks and 3D printed, laser-cut side panels, grill lights and dial, and hand-soldered parallel circuit. Also includes a rocker switch, 9V battery, and six quarters as counterweight.
Field Research & Sketches
After narrowing down some of my initial responses to a few possible directions, I decided to pursue the more novel interaction; a rocking toaster. The standard interaction we have with our toasters is that we put in a slice of bread, pull the lever, and forget about it for three minutes. Meanwhile, a toaster which provides a very dynamic indication of its working state asks the user to acknowledge its presence.
Because the interaction is so specific, the form needed to be simple and in service of the interaction; I took aesthetic inspiration from radios, and envisioned a steam-bent wood frame.
I considered many switches to determine which might afford the right interaction for my concept, including a leed switch with a rolling magnet that would turn the circuit on when tilted/rolled into place. However, I wanted the circuit to stay on while the toaster continued rocking; I needed a toggle switch rather than a momentary switch. Out of the different toggle switches available, I chose the rocker switch because of the way its form changes from the on to off state.
Using a caliper, I dimensioned my 3D model to fit the rocker switch in a way in which, when in the off/standby state, the switch juts out of the form, allowing it to be pressed in when tilted, but when once turned on, the switch recedes into the form of the toaster, allowing it to rock uninterrupted.
In concept, the switch would be larger, and automatically turn back off/jut back out when the bread is done toasting, thereby “landing” the toaster stable and stopping the rocking. For the scope and timeline of this project, I focused more on communicating the initial physical interaction and overall concept narrative.
Fabrication Process: Laser Cutting, Painting, Solder & Assembly