Jeremy Fu

EDI Thesis 


For campers who want to reduce their environmental impact during mealtime, Ember is a modular prep and cooking set that enables a low-waste meal experience.

My Role
  • Mechanical Design
  • Design Research
  • Design Strategy


Stemming from my outdoor experiences, I wanted to learn about other’s experiences in the outdoors, the equipment they bring to camp, and how the desire to be sustainable augments the camping experience. 

User Interviews
Exploratory Interviews
Store Visits
User Looks
Target User

Front Country Campers


Opportunity Space

When I asked people what they loved about camping, they had a lot to say: the opportunity to bond and gather, the magic of the fire, and the tradition of a simpler era. 

Good food feels comforting after a long day. Comfort is the first step to having a good experience outdoors.
A big part of why I go camping the moments when you're cooking and sharing a meal together.

People love cooking at camp, but not when it comes to sustainability. A common theme among users I talked to was the feeling that their sustainability was negatively impacted in the outdoors

“It's this weird dichotomy of: when I'm home, I can like save the Earth. When I'm away from home and near the Earth, I can't save it.”
User Journey

To better explain how sustainability plays into the food experience at camp I’ve created this journey map compiled from my research. The cooking journey in the outdoors is very different from the cooking journey at home. Its broken into two connected loops, one at home and one at camp.


The tension between sustainability and  convenience often makes people trade off on their ideal experience

Overpurchasing of packaged foods is common
Leading contributors to waste are food scraps and food packaging
Importance of the communal cooking experience at camp
  • Through my research I found that campers are lacking equipment to allow them to manage the balance of prepping at home and prepping at camp to have a fulfilling and sustainable food experience.

  • Users currently use a patchwork of products to cover the food experience, which results in the lack of a kitchen workflow at camp

  • Users something that covers the whole cooking journey and emphasizes decreasing food and packaging waste.

Design Requirements

A convenient product and service that amplifies the sustainable meal experience by emphasizing preparation and building on the ritual and experience of cooking over the fire.

Emphasize Preparation

Reduce waste through balanced preparation


Works across the cooking journey

Kitchen Workflow

Easy to navigate in a new environment


Amplifies the experience of cooking over the fire


Based on these design requirements I began to brainstorm ideas and gathered feedback on these ideas from campers. 


I developed the top ideas into multiple prototypes. 


I refined into a single final concept, a modular prep and cook set. Created CAD assembly model in Solidworks which later was used to prototype using 3D printer, laser cutter and water jet. 

Final Prototyping

Confident in this direction, I moved towards creating a works-like, looks-like prototype of this concept.

Water jet 3/16″ 304 Stainless Steel. Cut holes undersized for later machining. 

Sandblasted parts for a smooth, matte finish, removing surface imperfections. 

Reamed holes for precise fit. Tapped holes for indexing plunger. 

Assembled stands using shoulder bolts and brackets at each corner.

Mirror or Matte Finishes

I 3D printed the compost bin, pot and inserts using PLA and FPLA (using a 3D printer I built).

Fully assembled!


For campers who want to reduce their environmental impact during mealtime, Ember is a modular prep and cooking set that enables a low-waste meal experience.
Sustainable Materials 

The tension between sustainability and  convenience often makes people trade off on their ideal experience

304 Stainless Steel

Durable, Recyclable


Sustainable, Anti-bacterial


Food Safe, Recyclable

  • Stainless steel as the sole metal used in fasteners, frame, attachment parts and cookware for its long-lasting durability. It is also 100% recyclable.

  • Bamboo as the material used in the chopping board. This sustainable crop is a fast-growing grass which reaches adult size in only 3 to 5 years.

  • Polypropylene for the compost and prep containers. Polypropylene is one of the easiest to recycle plastic polymers.

  • Learned a lot about myself and how I work through this 6-month solo project 
  • A new appreciation for the challenge of narrowing from a very wide brief ‘sustainable camping’ to a product that solves a specific unmet need
  • The importance of storytelling in helping people understand your project. Real photos & videos in context are more powerful than pretty renders. 
  • Special thanks to Club Craig: Thesis Advisor Craig Sampson, Jesse Brown, and Paige Hendersen!
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