MIKUY: Unit for Food Preparation in Space 2004-01-2529
When one looks at a situation from a distance, the probability of arriving at innovative solutions increases. Thus, when an industrial design student looks at the activity of eating and preparing food in space, the perception of the design problem starts with a lack of technical information, which makes it easier to break the conventional paradigm of how food is consumed in space. This is how Mikuy came to be. It is the outcome of a 15-week class project that culminated in the design of a crew food system for long duration orbital missions. Mikuy attempts to stimulate a harmonious environment on board the International Space Station (ISS), using food as the medium for enhancing crew cohesiveness and well being during missions.
The paper starts with an overview of the development of space food. It is followed by assumptions that give the designer constraints to work with. The paper then goes on to propose ways in which to innovate the way food is prepared on board the ISS. The design for Mikuy is created around the dimensions of a standard ISPR rack. The system involves a workstation and storage unit adapted to ISPR constraints resulting in a design that allows the crew to cook and concoct new recipes. The system envelops the user employing a unified form throughout the design. A bionic curve was initially created. By repeating, scaling and resizing this curve a spectrum of practical objects was envisioned for the crew food system in a way that allows the system to have a unity of form and structure.
Mikuy approaches the design in a holistic manner. It involves the whole circle of mealtime and food including the art of cooking or concocting recipes, psychological factors, and the practical aspects of handling food in zero gravity. Mikuy provides that island on the space station where one can escape to for creating new recipes and making mealtime something every crewmember looks forward to.