Kitchen Sense

Timeline – 2016

What is Kitchen Sense?

Kitchen Sense is a smart kitchen device that tracks the volume of your grocery items and auto-populates a list of items as the volume decreases beyond a specified threshold. The user can then order the items from a local vendor with one-click payment.

How it works?

Kitchen Sense is an IoT device that can be placed beneath any jar containing a grocery item, like, salt, sugar, pulses, etc. The device has a flexi-force sensor that monitors the weight of the item and sends the data in the background to the companion app. As the weight of an item goes down below a specified threshold, the device will notify the companion app and a grocery list will be populated for you. This list can then be shared with a local grocery store and everything will be delivered at your home in no time!

The proposed form factor of the Kitchen Sense device

 

The Process

I followed a “hardware-first” approach for this project. The idea was to first understand the feasibility of the project with a prototype using Arduino Yùn and a Flexi-force sensor.

The sensor is piezoresistive. The harder you press, the lower the sensor’s resistance. Pressing hard, the resistance changes from infinite to ~300k. A utensil filled with lentils was placed on the sensor. As the level of lentils goes down, the resistance goes up. When the resistance crosses a threshold value, Arduino Yùn sends a mail to a linked account informing about the low level of lentils in the utensil. Temboo API was used to send mail to a linked account. (The production unit will send a notification to the companion app instead of a mail.) The prototype was successfully tested in 2 homes.

As a next step, a companion and vendor app was planned to work with the device. Following are the screens and flow for the companion app:

1. The user will have to calibrate the device using the app. He can determine the threshold values for different grocery items.
2. Once the device is connected and calibrated, it will keep a track of the grocery item.
3. As soon as the level goes below the pre-defined value, the user is notified through the app and the item is added to the grocery list.
4. The user can place the order from the list with a local vendor.
5. The local vendor is notified about the order and the delivery is fulfilled.

Companion app screens

Vendor app screens

Invision prototype

Companion app prototype

Vendor side app


Specs for the proposed device

  • 12 cm in diameter
  • 120 grams weight
  • ATMega32U QFN
  • nrf8001 BLE

Result

The project won second place at the Sequoia Hackathon 2016.

I'm an interaction designer by profession with some hands-on experience in development, entrepreneurship, and publishing research papers. ;) When not in office, there's a 37.5% probability of finding me in a local bookstore.

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