My role covered the whole user research process and all the crucial concept decisions. I took care of the physical prototype of the Cooking Memo Interactive Scale by designing and printing the 3d model, while programming the functionalities in Arduino.
Cooking memo is:
the only smart scale connected to an app
for kids and their grandparents
that improves the cooking experience and saves the memory of the family traditional recipes
by recording the recipe through the smart scale on the app while cooking together.
We chose to focus on kids (6-10 years old) and their grandparents (60-70 years old), because we wanted to study this particular bond without taking it for granted. We wanted to know which was the gap between these two generations and explore which kind of benefits they can give to each other. So we started our research, with these goals in mind: we wanted to know when they spend time together, which kind of activities they do, which is their relationship with technology and see if there were some problems. We structured the research in three different ways: at first we did a general online survey; then, we went to two parks in Milan—Parco Indro Montanelli and Parco Sempione—asking directly to our potential users what they like to do together and if technology is somehow involved in the activities; and third, we went into the home of our users, doing for the whole afternoon some games and activities together in order to better understand the situation.
After our research, we did the personas. For kids we identified the leader, the nerdy and the crybaby; for grandparents, the innovative, the innovative but and the traditional, according to their approach on technology. Thanks to the user journeys, we identified the matching couples and their main opportunities, such as finding new challenges, or to use technology to improve the experiences.
It's important to highlight the fact that during the interviews it emerged that kids and grandparents spend time together mostly in the afternoon after school: grandparents want to be involved in what their grandchildren are doing, and they know how to use technology but they just don’t want to since they both prefer doing manual activities such as crafts, gardening or cooking, during the time they spend together.
Based on the fact that together they want to do manual activities, we focused on cooking. We analyzed how the activity is carried out and we found some problems: grandparents own so much knowledge in this field and they want to pass it to their grandchildren, but they need a better way to do that, so that the kid can learn better and faster. So, there are some opportunities within this experience, like learning all the special family traditional recipes that only grandparents know, creating a “recipe archive” memory, storing recipes but most of all storing memories. Therefore, the project is both entertaining and educational: it helps to create this “grandparents’ memory” by recording the recipe while cooking, in order to create memories for the kids’ future, saving the legacy of the family in a digital way instead of physical, simplifying the process of taking notes.
In details, our system is made by a smart scale and an interactive app that communicate with each other through wi-fi. There are three main functionalities within the system: users can create new recipes from scratch, they can repeat a recipe already saved just by following the instructions, and they can also update them if something has to be changed.
The smart scale records the weight of the ingredients and send it to the app through wi-fi connection. The user interacts with the scale by clicking the lips button in order to start weighting the ingredient: when the amount is correct, the user has to press the same button again and the eyes will change into an heart shape; there’s also an audio output that confirms that the amount was saved. At the same time, the app receives the weight data from the scale, and shows simultaneously the amount that is pourish in the scale.
Prototype and User Feedbacks
The scale prototype was 3d printed in PLA material: in reality, we want the scale to be in plastic material, with a soft lips button in silicone rubber. The video below shows all the technology components that we used to design our prototype.
The video below, istead, shows the interface of the app. At the first opening, the users have to log in and create their personal profile, by adding their personal data. Then, by clicking the plus button in one of the categories, the users can add a new recipe and following the grandparents’ instructions they can select the actions and the ingredients, weight them on the scale, and the app will save all the information. Also, they can repeat a stored recipe whenever they want just by following the instructions given by the app. If they want to change something, recipes can also be updated, for example by adding another ingredient, or by changing the quantity already saved, in order to overwrite it.
Our users gave us important feedbacks: they were very happy and excited to use the product, saying that it was captivating, engaging, friendly, funny and that can simplify their cooking experience together.
- Yixiao Cai
- Erica Pellegatta
- Jacopo Poletto
- Bin Wu
- Yueling Wu
- Gianluca Brugnoli
- Garzotto Franca