Improve aging at home using Samsung SmartThings (internet of things) sensors.
First, our team met with our client, Samsung, to understand their goal, problem statement, resources, and constraints. Following that meeting, we created a customer/user needs assessment plan to target seniors with the desire to live independently but who also have caregivers. We accessed the seniors through relatives, locations were seniors gathered, independent living facilities, senior living advisors, and the NextDoor social networking platform. We conducted user needs through face-to-face interviews as well as observations of their living facilities. We gathered information concerning a typical day in their life, social habits, attitudes and experience with technology, and health concerns.
We interviewed a total of 15 seniors in independent living facilities (users) and 5 caregivers (customers). From the interviews, we gained insights through affinity diagramming and created a business proposition canvas and a customer/user needs analysis. Based on the needs analysis, we each generated 10 of our own concepts and then met together in a team brainstorming session where we generated 50 more concepts for a total of 100 concepts. In order to narrow down to the final idea, we created a concept selection matrix of eight of the top criteria that were applied in the selection of the top 6 product concepts to present and discuss with Samsung.
From those, we selected three concepts to create “proof-of-concept” sketches to get feedback from our target users and customers – a smart trashcan, a smart handbag, and a smart pillbox. From the concept testing feedback, we selected the smart pillbox to create a working prototype due to its highest potential to improve the independence and social connection of seniors as well as a high room for innovation in the design.
Just as the customer or user might not know what he/she wants, the client may not know what they want either. Thus, it was important to get feedback on ideas early and often so the client can better understand what they want through seeing the ideas presented. Our client, Samsung, posed key constraints as well as resources that were important for us to be aware of.
Concept testing also can be useful in the generative phase of the design process to get more ideas of potential features and user needs. We could have prompted the conversation with an existing product or rough sketches to start the brainstorming and creative process.
It was important to reference the customer needs analysis so as not to stray away from those needs during concept generation. Good selection criteria helps picking concepts that both met customer needs and were feasible. Daily common items from a water cup to a fridge - every design has its pros and cons and can be redesigned to be "smart".
Although we ultimately converged on a product idea, an auto-dispensing smart pillbox, there were still many more cycles of iteration to go through. We needed to converge on the target customer/user first before brainstorming product ideas, and it would have been beneficial to converge on the product idea earlier on to be able to iterate even more times. There could be many different ways to go about designing the mobile phone interface of a smart pillbox as well as the physical hardware design.
Our final deliverables included a working 3D-printed prototype of the smart pillbox using Samsung SmartThings weight sensors and Arduino, an interactive prototype of the smartphone application for the caregivers, a triple bottom line analysis, the business financial model, and a final tradeshow presentation. We presented our project to the research team at Samsung, and it was very positively received. Our project also received over 900 views on hackster.io within a few months and garnered 14 “respects” by the hackster community.