How we used technology to make kids eat in their own.

Maybe your children get distracted while eating. Maybe they lose their interest in the middle of the meal. That’s normal. Kids enjoy most the moments that are fun, magical and interactive. And dinner time is definitely not one of them.

So how could we improve the way kids experience eating independently?
Philips challenged us, a group of Hyper Island students, to use technology and improve kids’ feeding experience. And we went from ideation to a high-fidelity prototype in two and a half weeks.

Last prototype, time to see if it works in a real dinner

Build, measure and learn.

Paper prototypes: quick, dirty and fun.

One day of ideation, two weeks of prototyping, learning and improving.
With the problem in mind, the first day was used for research and ideation sessions, and by the end of it we already had our first paper prototype to present and develop ideas from the group.

Getting fancy and exploring the real world:
Paper prototypes are great, but they only go so far. With that and a lot of questions to be answered in mind, the prototypes started to get more robust, eventually integrating an Arduino, a great tool to test more complex interactions. With the new tool, it was time to test lights, colors and sounds.

Getting our hands dirty

Prototypes doesn’t have to look good, but serve a purpose.

Focusing on the essential
Following one our mentor’s advice and insights from interviewing parents, we decided to make the product as simple as possible. That meant focusing on the plate, and forgetting about the spoon in the initial idea. This decision sped up considerably the rate of prototypes we produced, tested, analyzed and improved.

As imagined, kids loved sounds. Parents hated it.
By testing with real kids in a daycare, we learned that even though kids loved sounds, parents hated it. A very important insight was that sometimes it might be easy to get lost thinking about the one using your product and end up leaving other stakeholders in the background.

It works. Now what?

With the idea proven to work, how could the experience be even better?
Close to the delivery date we decided to create other kinds of rewards to keep children entertained — that’s when the spinning rainbow shined and proved to be enough to keep kids happy and parents ears healthy.

The moment of truth: will it work in the wild?
With the deadline approaching, it was time for a final test. The prototypes were doing fine in daycares, at schools and other places where we met kids. But the biggest question was still to be answered:

Will it work in a normal dinner situation?
Just the kid and the plate. How would they interact?

The final test went as perfect as it could have gone. The kid was very happy with the experience, and even ate more after he was done with his plate. There’s still room for improvements, but for two and a half weeks, that was a success.