Splash-proof glass aims to give everyone a normal drinking experience

Two DTU students have designed a splash-proof glass that is easy to drink from and that can be used by everyone—regardless of disability.

Casper Gramhald-Nørland and Laila Sofie Midjord have tested the DrinkSaver glass at a large number of nursing homes with residents with, for example, swallowing difficulties. Here, the original DrinkSaver solution, which is a splash-proof draught beer glass, is tested. Photo: Mikal Schlosser
The DrinkSaver glass consists of a glass and a curved ‘lid’ mounted inside the glass. The lid sends splashes back into the glass again while small holes ensure that the liquid in the glass easily passes through when a person drinks from the glass. The glass is intended for both people with mobility impairment and for people with swallowing difficulties, as all the liquid can be drunk without users having to bend the neck backwards. It can also be used by everyone else, as the lid in the glass can be removed. Photo: Drinksaver


Inclusive design and technology

Laila Sofie Midjord and Casper Gramhald-Nørland’s work to make the needs and challenges of people with impaired functions is a guiding part of the innovation process is called ‘universal design’.

The term was first formulated in the 1980s by architect and wheelchair user Ronald Mace, who wanted to avoid stigmatization of disabled people by designing solutions that embrace as many people as possible across their differences.

Since 2019, DTU has been working actively to integrate the principle in the teaching of students through the project collaboration ‘Technology Leaving No One Behind’. This has meant that DTU now annually teaches approximately 2,500 engineering students how to develop universal technology and design solutions. Several students, including the entrepreneurs behind DrinkSaver, have subsequently started up their own businesses.

“I’ve learned to incorporate some aspects in the innovation process that I didn’t consider including at all. I’ve also learned to see myself as someone who is solving a problem that is much bigger than myself and my own needs,” says Casper Gramhald-Nørland, and Laila Sofie Midjord adds:

“I've also become more aware of how people who don’t look like me experience the world. Now I’m constantly paying attention to my surroundings and I continuously get ideas for new and better engineering solutions.”

The two entrepreneurs expect the new Drinksaver glasses to be ready for the market in April this year. From there, the plan is to work with the project on a full-time basis and to “get all nursing homes in Denmark to buy the solution”, according to the entrepreneurs’ vision.


Universal design

Since 2019, DTU and the Bevica Foundation have collaborated on the ‘Technology Leaving No One Behind’ project. The purpose of the project is to incorporate the basic principle of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ‘Leave No One Behind’, in strategy, research, study programmes, and student entrepreneurship at DTU.

In specific terms, the objective of ‘Technology Leaving No One Behind’ is to promote inclusion and accessibility in the development of new technical solutions. This will be done through both education and the innovation workshop DTU Skylab, where students and researchers can get advice and guidance on how to start up their own business.

Disabled People's Organisations Denmark (DPOD) and the Danish Association of Youth With Disabilities (SUMH) are strategic partners in the project, which—with a large grant from the Bevica Foundation—will now continue towards 2030.