Device Prototyping: Kitchen Safety for Children

Through this weeks sprint, my colleagues and I took a closer look into the concept of device prototyping. Device prototyping is “an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from” (Wikipedia). Through this, researchers are able to collect valuable information, share communication with colleagues and create feasible analysis. Device prototyping is much similar to show and tell. It is a way for engineers to physically showcase their thoughts and show their colleagues exactly how they envisioned a product. This valuable concept is also a great way to receive rapid feedback. As I mentioned before my colleagues and I applied this concept to our sprint by creating a prototype that addressed the problem at hand.

User Group/Problem

The user group that was targeted through this sprint was children learning to cook, who often forget about their food while its being cooked and forget to turn off kitchen appliances after they are done cooking. The question being asked here is how can we as researchers and engineers create a way to remind children to turn off kitchen appliances?

my colleague and I named our user group Skippy

Exposure to the littleBits kit & generating the prototype

Out of all the sprints we have done in this class I must say I enjoyed this one the most. Most of the other sprints were theoretical when discussing the topics, but this one was hands on and gave us all the opportunity to try prototyping. The littleBits kit was a great way for beginners, like myself, to learn some of the concepts that go along with prototyping. It actually did the action when connecting the devices with each other. For example if we plugged an input source source like a button to a power source, and then to an output source like an alarm, the alarm would go off when the button is pressed. By having real results it was easy to come up with different ideas with the problem at hand.

a prototype my colleague and I created to solve the problem

Reflection based on my Experience

As I mentioned before this weeks sprint was personally one of my favorites. My colleague, Maura, and I created multiple great ideas that could solve the problem at hand. We first started out with our most crazy and wacky ideas just to lighten the mood and give us a good comfortable start. Since we started out with our far fetched ideas it was really easy to come up with practical solutions to the issue. At certain points we became stuck and at a loss for new ideas. This problem was easily solved by discussing another topic not related to our prototype and then finding inspiration from there.

How to effectively design device prototypes (wildcard)

I believe the way my colleague Maura and I decided to approach this design process was incredibly useful. We tried our best to create a comfortable and safe environment to work in, so the both of us could come up with as many ideas as possible. The use of the littleBits kit was also incredibly useful and gave us the ability to create a prototype that effectively demonstrated our thoughts. In order to answer this question, I think the way to effectively design device prototypes is to create a safe atmosphere to do it in and have the right tools to do so.

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