70 Blum Inspirations Laying the table, unloading the dishwasher, prepar ing a meal. The scenar io in Julius Blum GmbH’s k itchen lab is the same as in any pr ivate k itchen. Aside from the cameras that capture the test subjects per forming daily activities. ‘We invite guests from outside the company or employees from other depar tments to use our test k itchen,’ says Sandra Boehler from Blum’s Requirements Research Depar tment. The par ticipants use product protot ypes while cook ing an ordinar y meal and then repor t on their exper iences. They provide valuable insights on how to improve products. ‘The test sub - jects of ten spend the whole week with us to get used to the product being tested.’ Cooking in a suit Things get really interesting when the AgeExplorer® comes into play. Par ticip ants test the products while wear ing the age simulation suit which allows them to feel the ef fects of aging, such as dif ficulties with mobilit y, muscle fatigue, limited field of vision and altered percep - tion of colour. Sandra Boehler exper ienced the lat ter herself. ‘I tr ied to bake a cake wear ing the AgeExplorer®. I couldn’t see whether it was golden-brown and cooked or whether it was still raw inside.’ Worldwide research into users’ needs Sandra Boehler doesn’t only test kitchen solutions. The functionalit y of Blum’s latest developments is now being tested in all areas of the home. ‘We’re interested in kitchen users’ needs in all living areas and in all our markets. To this end, we regularly travel to dif ferent countries around the world and obser ve how our product ideas are implemented on site.’ Manufacturers, cabinet makers and fit ters are also invited to share their exper tise. All these ef for ts allow the company to constantly come up with new product ideas. Know today what might be important tomorrow Blum researchers have been investigating the needs of kitchen and furniture users around the world for years. Research insights are incorporated in the development of new products. One special method of research is to use an age simulation suit: wearers feel age-related limitations within seconds of donning the suit. We spoke to Sandra Boehler from Blum’s Requirements Research Depar tment and asked her to explain how the suit works and what can be gained from it.