Robert Provo Kluit
Umea Institute of Design
Time Wand is the egg timer redefined, in the form of an interactive spatula. By knowing the recipe and sensing the food, it controls the cooktop and guides the user through the recipe. With future connectivity in mind it can do so, because it is linked with a food service offered by the local supermarket, gaining access to food data. Hence, it offers a more varied, surprising & thus healthier diet. It takes away the burden of experience and a ‘don’t know what to eat’ attitude.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The project had a set duration of 9 weeks. The initial brief was completely open and it was up to us to frame the project and identify design opportunities. However, collaboration with a brand was involved & aspects such as brand values, market trends, styling, and strategic positioning were taken in consideration with the brand in mind.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
In order to respond to upcoming technologies the time frame was set within 5-10 years. With a human-centred approach the potential availability of resources led to a focus on the Scandinavian countries. The scope was quickly narrowed down to the cooking area, and later on to focus on empowering people instead of healthcare related products. In the context of the course (strategic design) late adolescences and young students were defined as an under addressed target group. The opportunity rose to design an introduction to cooking for those who are just moving out of the family home; A point were the foundation for the brand connection can be made, since it is then that the first cooking utensils are purchased. Although mostly a product design, it is important to stress the whole solution is based on a holistic service concept that takes specific aspects of the target group into account, such as how, where and when they purchase food.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Research The project started with an introduction to the brand and their vision on the future. The assignment was open. Guided by external tutors from different industries, a thorough analysis of the brand through a range of exercises gave us a complete understanding of the brand. After analysing the brand's product categories, a focus on cooking was decided since it involves most human interaction opposed to say laundry for example. After getting a grip on the brand many opportunities begin to appear. With a focus on the elderly, I started additional research in the library & when referring my findings back to the brand I concluded also there being an opportunity for adolescences. Additional observations and interviews highlighted similar key problems. To gain a better understanding of the two target groups extensive personas were created & I decide to continue with the target group of young students, because their age, lifestyle, and little experience in cooking makes them perfect for whom to create a brand introduction for. From there the design opportunity was formulated. Ideation Ideation started with a group brainstorm session on possible product solutions. Upon previous findings, readings and discussions, time was defined as the hardest to grasp aspect of cooking. Therefore the goal for the project became to redefine the timing experience of cooking. Because of this holistic goal, I started by exploring the service idea that bridges food supply and cooking & this theme formed the foundation of the subsequent product ideas. The result was 3 concepts & These concepts were then presented to all parties involved. Their reaction and subsequent discussions lead to a combination of concepts by which the final concept emerged, in this case a sensory ‘pencil’ that senses the temperature of the food combined with the defined service. Design Development By applying familiarisation techniques I tried to enhance the acceptance of this new to the world product. These results gave the ‘pencil’ the functionality of a spatula with the application of specific materials. By using a specific form language tool the product fits within the brand's product portfolio. Through clay and CAD modelling the concept was further developed & after the first CAD model, subsequent form studies lead to a satisfying design outcome. CAD modelling was then redone based on ergonomic findings from previous iterations of clay models. During the completion of the outer design, the service, app and interaction were continuously fine-tuned to concept level by storyboarding, mock ups and user testing. A 1 to 1 model was produced in order to communicate the design, its materials and form. The service side of the design was explained in a series of schematic illustrations, storyboard and wireframe. The final presentation was given to teachers, peers, and the brand's design management.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
During this study the pitfall between food and moving out of the family home became clear. For a significant part of the target group the priority of food is low due to a busy lifestyle, demanding studies, new friendships, and the lack of know-how regarding cooking. This low priority results in a diet with little variety and low nutrition; while the right nutrition is so essential for their health & well-being. The value of ‘Time Wand’ lies in enabling the user to cook fresh with a variety of foods without the burden of experience, and answering the ‘don’t know what to eat’ excuse, therefore answering their needs on an emotional and rational level in a way that suits their lifestyle. Taking local context into consideration a complete concept evolved based upon a service with touch points that approaches these people in their way.6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
One of the findings of this project was to what extent eating is cultural specific. Therefore, and due to the opportunities of the location at the time, the project was specifically positioned for the Scandinavian countries. By focussing on this culture, local libraries and informational resources could be utilised as well as enabling interviews and observation of target groups.span class="question">7. Does your project have nutritional elements? If so, are these elements available and affordable on a global or local level?
Nice design, clean and straight, an interesting supermarket oriented tool to spread and recover the passion for cooking as well as the food knowledge.