Only Touch

Does our life become easier with every new invention on the market? I doubt it. We consume, but we seldomly pause to appreciate. This project does the opposite of being user-friendly and easyness of use by introducing a barrier. Both your hands must hold the kettle to make the water boil. This creates a moment of appreciation about the simple fact that we can so easily heat up water. In a way this is a forgotten remediation of the control of fire.

This is the final project of the Digital Craft minor at the WdKA.

Duration: 9 weeks

Evolution of cash systems

This project started with research into the evolution of products. This is a good example of digital remediation intended to make jobs easier. I was inspired by the degradation of tactal richness in interactions over time.

Don Norman quote

You see this happening in all kinds of consumer products. In this project I wanted to go back to a very basic thing that we would have once called innovation. The control of fire for example.

Kettle sketch

After exploring a number of options and possibilities, I decided to make a water kettle that would only work while holding it.

Pottery wheel

By prototyping shapes with clay on the pottery wheel I found out the interaction would be better if you need to hold the base of the kettle with two hands. This base would need to fit under an excisting glass kettle top. Therefore the dimensions must be really exact, clay turned out not to be the suited material for that.

Wood turning

Wood on the turning lathe was the way to get exact dimensions. As you can see, the plastic part came from the original kettle giving me sense of how big the diameter should be.


This is a midway photo of the final product. At this point I started working on the electronics and final exhibition setup.

Circuit drawing

After some experimentation, this is the circuit used to make it actually work. By using the capacitive sensor board and a relay the kettle would really only turn on when hands were on the base. Some calibration was needed to make it respond to two hands only.

Exhibition setup.

The final exhibition setup. I added some explanatory text on the table to siginify the interaction possibilities. I also added a booklet to add a layer of information. In this booklet I explain about the project and why I made this.