Future Fridge – Refined Comp Tight Sketches

P3.FutureFridge.InterfaceSketch1

Future Fridge main interface screen. Button in the top right activates the clear-to-opaque screen. Three options for fridge functions and displays important new updates like when food has expired or when frequently consumed foods are running low and are automatically added to a shopping list app.

P3.FutureFridge.InterfaceSketch2

Clear fridge screen – can see fridge contents. “Touch” item to display info (particularly effective for Fridge ‘Smart Containers’) like weight (measured from shelves), ripeness (based on food gas levels) and basic item info (avg. expiration date, etc).

P3.FutureFridge.InterfaceSketch3

Listing when foods are expiring in order to decide when to consume them.

P3.FutureFridge.InterfaceSketch4

 

Add new items, edit existing items. I think this screen needs a bit of improvement.

Now I need to show the interior scan bar to easily scan barcodes when putting things into and out of the fridge. I also want to include a mobile app to accompany it (to scan food labels and auto-add frequently consumed foods to a shopping list). FYI I made my comp sketches on a fridge printout because I’m having difficulty finding a high enough quality image to use for my digital comps.

Future Fridge – Experience Prototype

Future Fridge - Experience Prototype

So I decided that I wanted to focus on a Future Fridge concept where food freshness/spoilage management was the main focus so I made a list of all the main spoilage foods in order of soonest to spoil to the furthest out spoil date. I put this on the fridge and asked my family to record when they ate something, how much, and when something has been completely consumed. We’ve only been using it for a few days so I think I’d only see real effects after a while. One unintended consequence however of using this method was that my family felt intimidated about having to keep track of things (correctly) and thus had a tendency to eat more things out on the counters rather than from the fridge…
Additionally, it didn’t seem to really affect our eating habits all that much at this point in the experiment. But I can see that the more automation that is involved will help make the fridge less intimidating and easier to use.

Future Fridge – Experience Prototype Questionnaire

Describe what your interface does in 2 sentences or less.

The future fridge allows users to track food in their fridge so they can remember to eat something before it spoils or throw it out when it’s no longer good to eat. It also keeps track of whom the food belongs to, recipes that can be made from food on hand, and auto order frequent items.

Who would use your interface?

I would so use it! But other myself, people who have difficulty keeping track of how long food has been sitting in the fridge and want to get rid of bad food before it molds and stinks. Basically people who want a better management system for their fridge foods.

What would they hope to gain?

They would hope to gain more control and accessibility to food safety and organization.

What is the context/environment in which people will use your interface? Would it be used in public/private? Alone or in groups?

Well originally my idea was to have this in homes, specifically ones that have more than one adult using the fridge at any one time (like roommates) but this could definitely be useful in a larger restaurant situation as well. 

What sorts of physical items might a user have to interact with? 

Well users would have to interact with the physical food items, but of course they would also have to use a fridge interface that uses a smartphone support interface. For the Take-Out Tracker, RFID chips to tell what’s in the containers, who it belongs to and dates.

What questions do you need answered about your interface to see if it is necessary or effective?

What features would be the most useful to people (the 80/20 rule)? Are there any redundancies? What kind of information system would make it easiest for people to remember to manage their expired food (or consume it before it expires), alerts, countdowns, etc?

Future Fridge Storyboard

To start with I’d like to list some of the features that I’d like to incorporate into the concept:

– Full door screen display

– In-door barcode scanner

– Smart food manager (Keep track of food + expiration dates / add frequent items shopping list or auto order)

– Recipe recommendation / reader / creator

– Take-Out Tracker (keep track of take home food, distinguish with multiple users, set spoil date, etc)

– Display full fridge contents + food quality (spoilage) + distinguish food ownership (in case of multiple users)

And without further ado, the storyboard:

FutureFridge_storyboardFutureFridge_storyboard_0001

 

And yes the ‘Registered’ marks are a joke 🙂

Smart Fridge: Similar Interfaces

So there are some concepts for smart/internet fridges out there to get me started on ideas, each having their strong and weak points.

SMART FRIDGE – Yanko Design

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I really like how this design uses a full door touch interface concept and how it utilizes and opaque to clear glass transition. The down side is that this design would eliminate the door storage, but is that worth it? The freezer also seems a bit large on this concept. Something I’ve seen pretty consistently is that many smart fridge concepts allow the user to use the interface for cooking instructions, which wasn’t one of my initial concerns but is something that I think I can mindfully incorporate.

BIL-LIVE FRIDGE – Yanko Design

bil_live bil_live2

 

This fridge design has more to do with functionality than interface I realize. It seems to also use the opaque-to-clear glass transitions and uses rotating shelves to have full access to the fridge contents. At my house if it’s in the back, it’s lost forever. This could potentially be a helpful system, but I can see the weakness in limiting total fridge usage space, it doesn’t seem like realistically it would work as well. Also the description says that the doors would have display screens, but that they would do a lot of menial functions not necessarily directly related to function of a fridge or kitchen.

LG SMART REFRIGERATOR

LG_smartfridge1 LG_smartfridge2 LG_smartfridge3 LG_smartfridge4 LG_smartfridge5

This one seems the closest to my original vision features-wise (even if the design is terrible). I think that the small screen in the doors is under-utilizing the available space, but the fridge-to-phone app is a great touch and one that I was thinking I could incorporate into my own interface concept.

The LG Smart Refrigerator is part of a larger concept LG has put together called LG Smart Home. This is the description the website for LG Smart Home gave: This refrigerator has an LCD display and a Smart Manager feature which lets you keep record of stored food along with their expiration dates. This information can be transmitted to your phone for an instant grocery list or, using the LG Smart Shopping, supplies can be automatically ordered. This Smart Refrigerator will also recommend recipes and menus based upon its contents and your programmed preferences. A personalized meal plan can be programmed using the Health Manager feature. Simply enter personal information such as age, weight and BMI and it will provide recipes, daily and weekly menu plans. The Smart refrigerator LCD display can also be used as a news reader, photo album, calendar or memo pad. It can also display helpful instructional videos to accompany recommended recipes. Like all LG Smart appliances it can perform a self-diagnosis, which will call in to the service center and tell them what is wrong with it. The service center will respond either with an updated program or schedule a service technician.