Smart Scale

Observation

Users often cook with tablets in the kitchen. The tablets, acting as cookbooks, are far from the food because people don't want them to get dirty or wet.

Additionally, when following a recipe out of a book or tablet, the cook needs to move about the kitchen, going from ingredients to cookbook and back again.

Concept & Ideation

The Idea

Why not combine the recipe reading process with where the cooking is happening? What if the thing you were reading recipes from actually helped you cook? I decided to use a scale as the recipe reading device because measuring with weight is more accurate than measuring with volume. A scale that combines both the recipe and measuring function keeps the focus on the food and eliminates back and forth travel around the kitchen.

Paper Prototypes

A series of paper prototypes were created to find the most effective user experience. These prototypes allowed me to do basic user testing.

Proof of Concept

I reverse-engineered a scale and manipulated the parts using Arduino. The scale displays how much of an ingredient is needed. The user accurately measures right on the scale. When ready, the user can advance to the next step, zeroing out the scale for the next ingredient.

Refinement

The scale concept needed to be taken to the next level. Sketches and mock-ups explored the form. The scale was modeled in Solidworks then CNC and 3D printed. Finally, the UI was moved to a touchscreen interface and the Arduino components installed.

Sketches and foam mockups were made to explore the form of the scale. I used this model for measurements used in the 3D model.

An exploded 3D model of all the planned parts.

The sides were CNC'd from walnut.

The 3D model was used to 3D print the body and CNC the sides of the scale. The scale after being 3D printed and the sides CNC'd. The insides of the scale were assembled accordingly.

The electronics were installed, including the power button, the scale sensor, the Arduino microprocessor and display.

Functional Prototype

The Smart Scale assists the home chef to cook quickly and accurately. With its big touchscreen and helpful prompts, it’s easy to use with little degree of effort.