Iteration 1 : Envision Phase

  • Description
    • The FlaVR Labs Interactive Eating Plate is the creation of an interactive eating plate designed to help parents get their picky eaters (aged 4-10) to eat a full range of nutritious food without struggle by creating external motivational factors for kids.  
    • The interactive eating plate will also serve as a piece of a product environment that will be further explored in ideation (flow chart coming soon with use cases for technology, applications, and possible future product development within this environment)
  • Objective
    • After discussions with my sponsors at FlaVR Labs, they gave me time to think about what interests me in their mission to develop the future of people’s interaction with food.  Yes, “people” is vague, but that is the goal at FlaVR Labs – to come up with food-related solutions that can serve all populations.  Immediately, I thought of my four-year-old nephew and my sister’s struggling efforts to feed him a full range of nutritious food.  How can I help my sister easily feed my nephew nutritious food, and do so without fuss?  I also sympathize with my nephew, who is easily externally motivated to complete tasks.  This is how I came up with my capstone project, which is to develop an interactive eating experience for children who are picky eaters to help them consume a range of nutritious food that their parents serve them.  This is with the simultaneous goal of helping parents feed their children in a convenient way.  FlaVR Lab’s goal is to eventually be able to grow this technology to apply to an ecosystem of products as well as adapt the technology to serve varying target customers (elderly, or medical applications as well)  based on their unique needs.   
  • Purpose
    • To aid parents in feeding their children conveniently while helping them fulfill nutritional requirements.  To also aid children in having a more enjoyable eating experience if meal time is unpleasant (due to behavioral patterns)
  • Scope/boundaries
    • Upon further research of my project, I found medical research that contributes picky eating behavior as a risk factor in the development of symptoms of anorexia nervosa.  Picky eaters are also more likely to develop problem behaviors and symptoms of depression than non-picky eaters.  My project is an effort to correct this picky eating behavior before it becomes a recurring problem in the household for parents.  Based on this information, my audience is parents who deal with children (4-10) who are picky eaters and are hard to feed.  This also means that my audience encompasses the children who will actually be using and interacting with my product.
    • Testing on humans may be limited to some degree due to the physical nature of this project.  This could impact the type of feedback I get on my iterations.  Also, I might meet manufacturing limitations where a product like this would be professionally manufactured utilizing techniques such as injection molding.  Aspects of this project will be prototyped to establish an MVP.
  • Target users
    • Children aged 4-10, and the parents of those children
      • For different use cases
        • Medical patients suffering from loss of appetite due to medication and treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, or individuals on certain medications such as opiates, diuretics, and certain antibiotics
        • Elderly who have lost sense of taste and appetite are at higher risk of malnutrition and malnourishment.
  • Key benefits
    • Improved parent-parent relationships on dealing with picky eating behavior 
    • Improved parent-child relationship on how mealtime is dealt with
    • Improved diet and nutrition (overall health) in child 
    • Time saved by parents in family meal preparation
    • Development of improved psychological behaviors in children (compromise, extreme defiance, and tantrums with the product improving the latter two).
  • Competition
    • Smart Plate
      • The products Goals are to help with weight management, hydration, and portion control 
      • Overall, smart plate has an Adult focus with emphasis on tracking nutritional value in food
      • Smart Plate Helps track food intake with embedded scales and an app that utilizes picture recognition to recognize food and accurately provide calorie counts
    • Playte
      • Playte is a Non smart, gamified eating plate 
      • There are Board games on food plates that are played with dice to engage kids in eating 
      • Product reviews stated that kids Lost interest with time in the product or often still needed an external motivation factor to eat  
      • Favorable reviews cited the Durable plastic material and portability 
  • Differentiation
    • My product will combine the technology of the adult focused Smart Plate and apply it to the use case of Playte while solving a variety of problems identified in the Key Benefits section.  Smart Plate is aimed to help adults hone in their nutrition, not help engage children in eating.  By making this interactive, it will have a lesser chance of lost engagement over time (as reviewers of Playte stated as a product issue).  By being interactive, the product has different interactions each time and can be updated to include new ones. 

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