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UNNC student design won an international award

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Rengrui Xiang’s smart coffee cup design

Did you ever get your mouth burnt by hot beverages? Sometimes, it could be quite painful if you didn’t pay special attention to the heat of your drink in hand.

Rengrui Xiang, a graduate from UNNC Product Design and Manufacture major, created a smart coffee cup prototype that successfully fixes this problem. It even won her a world renowned design award – a winner in the Bakeware, Tableware, Drinkware and Cookware Design Category of A’ Design Award & Competition, 2016 - 2017.

Being an observant person, Rengrui said she noticed quite a few people would buy a cup of coffee on their way to work. However, coffee or other hot drinks could easily burn your lips or tongues when it’s too hot, or may lose its taste when running cold. Rengrui believes there is a way to let people know the best timing of consuming their hot beverages.

“I wanted to create a smart coffee cup that reveals the temperature of the hot drink inside,” said Rengrui, “so as to indicate the best time point for drinking in an intuitive way. I did a research on product materials and finalised with an edible organic one.”

The coffee cup prototype Rengrui created has three layers. She uses a thermochromic material in the middle layer to enable colour change on the surface when the temperature of the drink changes.

“There was a research about the best drinking temperature and it found that 85 degree C is most suitable,” she said. “If lower than 65 degree C, the drink would be too cold for human tongue. With this finding and the indicative material to signify temperature change, the smart coffee cup idea became possible.”

Yi Teng Shih is the supervisor of Rengrui Xiang’s smart coffee cup project and also an Assistant Professor in Product Design and Manufacture, UNNC. With his guidance, many of the student design projects have generated award-wining product prototypes. He now has a product design center launched at the UNNC Incubator to better facilitate commercialisation of the designs.

Rengrui Xiang thanked Prof. Yi Teng Shih for his support in completing the project:“ Prof. Yi Teng Shih’s suggestion was very instructive and I’m especially grateful for his guidance. He told me good design doesn’t just solve problems but also solve them in an intelligent way,” she said. “It was Prof. Shih encouraged me to participate the A’ Design Award & Competition. Wining this award means more than glory to me. It was a great recognition of my design capability.”

Posted on 8 January 2018