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The Eye Opener

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The Eye Opener

Stanford Product Realization Lab, 2019

As part of Computer Aided Product Realization (ME 318) at Stanford, we were given the challenge to design a bottle opener that was for our alter ego. The Eye Opener is a steel bottle opener that’s tucked away into a custom-sewn fabric eye patch, stealthily providing support and form while also ensuring the wearer is always within reach of a bottle opener.

A couple years ago, I suffered an injury to my left eye that left me blind for a few days. While I thankfully recovered, my injury can flare up from time to time, requiring that I keep my left eye closed. Whenever my eye irritates me, I like to imagine I’m assuming my scarred, one-eyed alter ego. Thinking about what this alter ego would want, I realized that beyond simply covering my eye, I’d need something to protect me from the kind of contact that could cause me pain. Conveniently, an eye patch like that would also make for a pretty neat bottle opener.

Several factors needed to be balanced in the design of the part, such as curvature, shape of the perimeter, the thickness, all while ensuring it could successfully open bottles. One of my design goals was for the eye patch to appear mostly innocuous. Because the machined component dictates the shape of the eye patch, it was important to ensure I had a natural form as the skeleton of my part. I used 3D-printing to cycle through a couple iterations of geometries to zero in on a shape that I felt best balanced the needs of the project.

During prototyping I realized that the fabric would reveal the edges of the square bottle opener features when sewn tautly over the steel piece To address this, I created a 3D-printed inset piece that was sewed into a captive pocket inside the eye patch. This piece matched the profile of the eye patch, creating what appeared as a continuous surface on the fabric. When placed on a bottle, the piece moves out of the way, and when the bottle is removed, the elasticity of the fabric moves the piece back into place.

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