Project Description: The goal of the project was to create a ‘design fiction’ in the form of a video prototype for the invention of speculative digital media products and services.
Time is an essential part of our lives. However, many individuals spend their time at work, school, or conducting daily activities. This value of time and need to hurry can be seen in the use of self-checkout lines to eating at fast food restaurants. The healthyChef product addresses the issues of efficiency and allows individuals to easily manage their time and health.
The product is based on the Smart Cooking research by graduate student James Schuster and advisor Dr. Claudia B. Rebola with the School of Industrial Design. Schuster conducted a series of design thinking workshops and interviews from a variety of families and individuals on the amount of time they spent cooking. He found that the size of the kitchen was a key factor in the cooking process. The amount of space to cook and the storage of food plays a large factor in the preparation of meals, especially when hosting a dinner party or preparing a family dinner (Schuster 6). This research led to the creation of a series of prototypes that were sensor-based and internet- connected devices for cooking.
Their design solution was to create an application that would allow the user to store recipes and the time allocated to prepare the meal. In addition to the application they created a sensor for the stove knob that would communicate with the recipe from the application to make sure the time was correct. The spoon also had a sensor that checked the temperature of the food. This allowed the user to know if they needed to stir more or less (Schuster 57).
The healthyChef product incorporates similar components found in the original research. The main concept that was important in addressing in the product was efficiency and usability. In addition, to incorporating time it was important to incorporate a social commentary on health and obesity. The application created also allows the individual to track their weight. Based on the family plan the user has selected in the healthyChef application tracks the weight of each individual in the household. The application has many similarities with the Smart Cooking tools both allow the user to track recipes and meals. To make this concept more speculative the healthyChef application also comes with a robot that allows the user to easily cook and manage meals.