Runtime: 1 semester
Completed in: January 2014
Individual project
Client: IKEA of Sweden
http://www.conceptkitchen2025.com/student-projects/mindful.html

This blender is designed to invite users to interact mindfully with blending process. Instead of operating a blender, the blender invites the user to focus is on the food itself.

Background
In a world full of stimuli it is hard to keep your attention directed to the activity at hand. During my thesis project I explored how to design for interactions that invite people to pay more attention and care for that what they do: being mindful throughout the interaction.

The push interaction facilitates freedom and allows people to find their own way of interacting with the product and adapting to the context. You can choose to blend firmly in order to crush some walnuts, or gently in order to stir oil in the mixture.

Interaction Explorations
During the process three prototypes were developed exploring the aspects that encompass mindfulness. Inspired by activities in daily life that require focus, like the precision of holding a pencil while painting, translation of energy that is invested when pumping up water, and the bodily incorporation when dancing.

Interaction 1: Rotary
The first blender interaction is inspired by the precision one holds a pencil while painting. The blender is operated by turning the stick counter-clockwise. The further the stick is rotated counter-clockwise, the faster the motor will spin. Rotating the stick back will decrease the blender speed.

Interaction 2: Push
The second blender interaction is inspired by a pump that requires continuous repetitive input. The increase in pressure applied to the handle at the top of the blender is mapped to the increase of the blender’s speed. This interaction a closed action-perception loop is created by mapping the acceleration of the blender motor. Releasing the pressure has no result on the motor speed. This means that the user needs to keep on pushing down in order to keep the blender spinning.

Interaction 3: Pull
The third blender interaction was inspired by a ‘top and whip’ a toy from the past in which the goal was to keep the top spinning. It has a string that can be pulled out of the top of the body, similar to starting a motorboat. The acceleration with which the string is pulled is translated to the acceleration of the blender motor. The string is automatically pulled inwards this has no effect on the blending speed. In order to keep the motor spinning, the user rotates the handle above the blender body. By rotating fast, the blender speed will increase, by rotating slowly, the blender will decrease in speed.

These interactions were compared with the original blender interaction in order to evaluate whether the novel interactions were more engaging. Results are published in DeSForM 2015’s proceedings and will be presented at TEI 2016.