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What’s in the fridge? – A Vision for a Connected Refridgerator

When we think of a fridge, what comes to mind is a home appliance that preserve our food items.  We also think of an appliance that is heavy, difficult to clean and sometimes limited in space, especially in a family home.  Designers would probably go a step further to suggest that the visual and functional aesthetic of the fridge has not changed much in 40-50 years, with the occasional interaction taking place now and again.

Part of the reason for this stagnation, is the clear functional purpose of the fridge (preserving food), which makes it difficult to iterate, after all, it does what its meant to, similar to a stake of shelves for books.  However, highlighting some of the problems with the current design can open up a world of ideas.  Below are some features that could address some of the problems listed above, and make the refrigerator a decent connected home appliance.

Features of a prototype connected fridge

  1. Anti-gravity capability that allows items to suspend in mid air
    1. A feature which would be inspiring and aesthetically appealing
    2. This would make shelf space a problem of the past
    3. While this is a bold idea, much would need to be done to ensure that the food items remain organised and easy to access.
  2. In-built micro cameras.
    1. Cameras link to an application on a smartphone
    2. The cameras come on when the application is opened
    3. This will enable users to identify what needs to be replenished on their smartphones, when they are out and about.
  3. Materials research which would create a fridge that is relatively light, yet sturdy
  4. Regulate temperature of fridge by turning the crown on connected smartwatch
    1. Mobility
    2. Great user experience, similar to using the smartwatch to increase/decrease the volume of music.

Written: June 9, 2018

Design Thinking: An Apple Watch Feature

Apple.inc produced a line of smartwatches called the Apple Watch in April, 2015.  Since then, it has produced the second generation and third generation versions of the Apple watch called the Series 2 and Series 3 respectively.

Though the Apple Watch was seen initially as a novelty device, which provided little practical incentive for purchase, aside from the draw of the Apple brand, design thinking can be seen to have been effectively used through the course of the watch’s evolution to create a great user experience.

A standout feature of the Apple watch is its Volume Control.  Ordinarily, if a user has to adjust the audio levels in their earphones as they walked along, this would normally consist of trying to get the phone out of a bag or pocket.  By implementing design thinking, the crown on the apple watch can be rotated upwards to increase the volume or downwards to do the opposite.

Though the Apple watch has evolved to have a number of useful features, this feature highlights a clear use case whereby Apple designers have observed the user, and proceeded to bridge the gap between novelty and utility, by enabling subtle changes in behaviour, that is simple and intuitive, making for a better user experience.

Written: March 31, 2018

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