Hypothesis Testing 01_Building a prototype

Now, I have a hypothesis to test.

I believe that if parents have an easy way to measure balance in nutrition, it will help parents feel more relieved with health issues for their baby.

A chat with a nutritionist

Thanks to my friend Sergio, I could chat with Kayla, a nutritionist. She taught me what I need to consider for balancing nutrition when making food. There are five food groups that need to be provided to a child with balance. They are Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fruits, Dairy, and Vegetables. There are recommended amounts for each item based on different age groups. This was very inspirational for me since I knew how to balance nutrition in foods. And it helped me build a prototype.

There is recommended food portion for each nutrition and food type.

These metrics were adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health, and Human Services. (Source: health.gov)

Here is the first prototype.

1st prototype. Smart Plate

This great idea came from an observation that children eat foods that are placed on their plates.

Plate for babies

So I developed an idea that can allow parents to measure nutrition balance. Here is how smart plate looks and works.

This smart plate provides each section that parents can put each food with recommended portion.

How it works:

  • This smart plate contains a micro controller (e.g. Arduino) inside of it and weight sensors in each food section. The micro-controller knows which food section has which recommended amount. The weight sensor weighs foods on each food section and signals if the amount is proper.
  • On the top right side of the plate, there is a light bulb that indicates the recommended amount of food for each food section. (e.g. When too much meat is put on the meat section, the light on the top will turn red.)
  • This smart plate keeps track of how much the child ate from each food section. This gives parents an idea of how well their child is doing with certain food groups.

The main point of this idea is easily measuring each food group separately for the child and knowing what food groups the child will eat well and which ones they won’t.

Problems with this prototype

I talked with two mothers of toddlers and found a critical issue with this prototype. They told me that they usually don’t provide each food group separately to their child. For example, they provide chicken salad during some meals. Vegetables, Chicken, and Fruits are provided together all on one plate. In this case, it is impossible to measure each of these three food groups separately in this prototype.

So I decided to change the prototype.

2nd prototype. Recipe with visualized nutrition information

Through this prototype, I wanted to see if providing easy-to-understand nutrition information of a food is beneficial to parents.

How it works:

Compared to traditional design, this newly designed recipe provides visualized information for nutrition. It shows a graph with both recommended amounts of each food and how much food to provide in regards to each recommended amount.

Next Step

Now, I am going to implement the user test with mothers using this prototype to validate my hypothesis.

(Updated 18 Feb 2017)