Introduction: Plate Warmer


Individuals with dysphagia or limited esophageal motor function have difficulty swallowing food and require additional time to eat meals, which often leads to hot food becoming cold while they are eating.

Target Audience:

People with dysphagia or other conditions that make it difficult for an individual to eat food quickly, resulting in the food becoming cold faster than they can eat it.

Competitor Analysis:

Many existing products attempt to solve the problem by enabling the user to continuously heat food while eating. One example of a competitor that used exothermic reactions in order to heat the plate was the Mark Champkins Self Heating Crockery. The design that is most similar to our current prototype is the Soft Grip Keep Warm Thermo Plate, which also utilizes heated water to supply warmth to the plate. However, this design was too shallow, and is not ideal for ease of use based on the texture of pureed food. Another design was the Chef Buddy Warming Plate, which is an exterior method of heating a plate that is separate to the product. The Warming Plate is placed in the microwave, and the plate that the user would like heated is placed on top of the product after it is removed from the microwave. This product requires separate pieces, and the food cannot be placed directly on the dish. The final product that was analyzed was the VOBAGA Mug Warmer, which uses electricity to heat a mug for up to 4 hours. This product is dependent on an electric cord, which can become dangerous in some situations if it is in a position to be tripped over. It also was designed for mugs, which have a much smaller radius than a plate.

Selected Approach:

The current approach to a prototype that our group decided to take was to develop a plate with a cavity meant to hold hot/boiling water. The water would continuously heat the plate and the food that it held through convection.


    • A thermal pad (Link:
      • 7.87in x 7.87in x 0.5mm
      • 6W/m.k Thermal Conductivity
      • Thermal Silicone Pad Alternative to Thermal Paste/tape
      • For Laptop/Computer/Heatsink/CPU/GPU/3d Printer
      • $13.99
    • MSR Deep Dish Plate (Link:
      • Polypropylene
      • Large - 8.7 in diameter
      • $5.73
    • Aluminum Disc (Link:
      • 254 mm diameter (10 in)
      • 2 mm thick (0.078 in)
      • $12.80
    • 3D printed holder with handles
      • Plastic type: Polypropylene
      • Bottom radius: 25.4 cm (10 in)
      • Top radius: 30.48 cm (12 in)
      • Height: 0.762 cm (0.3 in)
      • Handle radius: 3.81 cm (1.5 in)
      • Handle thickness: 0.635 cm (0.25 in)

    Step 1: Requirements

    The requirements for this project were divided into 3 levels, which represent their importance (with level 1 being the most important, and level 3 being things that are nice to have, but not necessary). The attached document displays our requirements and whether each of our 4 prototypes meets each requirement. The current version of our prototype is version 4, which meets all of our level 1 and level 2 requirements, and most of the level 3 requirements.

    Step 2: Build (Step 1)

    Adhere a thermal pad to one side of the aluminum disk.

    Step 3: Build (Step 2)

    Place the aluminum disk into the 3D printed holder so the side of the disk with the thermal pad attached faces down. Make sure the disk sits in the holder.

    Step 4: Build (Step 3)

    Heat about 30 fl. Oz. water to about 68.3 °C and add it to a plastic deep dish plate.

    Step 5: Build (Step 4)

    Place the assembly over the plastic deep dish plate so that the side of the aluminum disk in contact with the thermal pad is faced downwards. The large main picture here is a picture of our final project without the holder that will hopefully be 3D printed later.

    Step 6: Use

    This video details how to use this device. It contains safety, care, and maintenance information.

    Step 7: Improvements and Extension Projects

    As an extension of this project, our product could be improved by introducing curvature to the edges of the top surface so users feel more like they are eating out of a normal plate. Additionally, the top could be made to snap or twist onto the bottom portion for a more secure connection and a better seal to prevent water from spilling out of the device if it is tipped. Another option would be fastening the disk to the bottom portion of our device using velcro straps. Furthermore, the mechanism for adding and removing water could be improved by constructing and using an opening like that of a water bottle that has a cap that can easily be screwed off to add or remove water and then closed by screwing the cap back on.

    Step 8: Resources and References | Chef Buddy 82-2005 Warming Plate - White ... (n.d.). Retrieved from

    Kuklovskaia Elizaveta. (n.d.). DP. Retrieved from

    Self Heating Crockery. (2019, April 25). Retrieved from

    Soft Grip Keep Warm Thermo Plate. (n.d.). Retrieved from