Julia Lindpaintner
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EXO

The challenge: 
Redesign the oven mitt to improve the sustainability and reduce the impact of its production. The solution: Sell a flexible, elastic silicone cover that fits over most oven mitts on the market.

Project
EXO

Type
Product design / Sustainable design

Collaborators
Josh Corn, Doug Fertig, and Jenna Witzleben

Context
Created for Material Futures under the guidance of Andrew Dent, PhD.
MFA Products of Design, School of Visual Arts
Winter 2016

Details
My fellow classmates and I were given the challenge of analyzing the OXO oven mitt, determining its materials and production methods, and proposing a new design that would have a smaller environmental impact. We deconstructed the mitt and read customer reviews to determine the pros and cons of OXO's design, prototyped a number of options, and came up with a flexible, elastic silicone exoskeleton for existing oven mitts on the market.  
 


Process

Pros of the OXO glove

Silicone protects cotton exterior and provides grip
Glove is easily washable
Glove protects the whole forearm
Interior is soft

Cons of the OXO glove

Cotton production and dyeing process are water-intensive  
Many materials involved in construction makes the mitt difficult to recycle
Rigidity of silicone diminishes grip and dexterity
Cotton frays; silicone tears

Our Solution

Named for its reminiscence of an exoskeleton, EXO takes advantage of the durability of silicone, while reducing overall environmental impact in five key ways: 

Minimize materials
1 material only; 100% Silicone
Webbed pattern reduces overall material usage

Simplify production process
Injection molding only, no tags

Decrease per unit transit impact
EXO is 30% lighter than OXO glove
Can ship approx. 2 EXO for each OXO glove

Increase recyclability
Single material eliminates need for sorting
Can be depolymerized or shredded for alternate uses

Encourage reuse of existing oven mitts
xtend the use of existing products, taking advantage of the relative uniformity of mitt sizes