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SCOPE Team Prepares to Hit SXSW

In preparation for a four-day visit to the SXSW Trade Show in Austin, Texas, the SCOPE team working with the Center for Future Innovation of Mutsubishi Electric is busy wrapping up hundreds of last minute details.This Mitsubishi Electric project is part of the Center for Future Innovation in the Industrial Design center. 

“There are supposed to be 75,000 attendees and 622 booths, so right now we are trying to figure out how many handouts we will need,” said Maggie Jakus, an Olin senior and member of Team CoCo.

CoCo is a set of smart wristbands that connect to a screen interface that enables consumers to connect and cook with loved ones far away. The overall mission is to empower users to learn, grow and stay connected with your loved ones.  This is the second year of a 2-year effort with SCOPE sponsor Mitsubishi Electric. The direction for the team was fairly broad—develop a hardware product that can live at the intersection of food, technology, aging and community development.

“We are focusing on the this transition between middle age and retirement age. This concept of successful aging and maintaining a sense of purpose in your life are all part of the design,” said Jakus.

At SXSW, the team will have a demo prototype for people to try. As part of the interface there are categories for your friends, your skills and your stuff. Users can save recipes, upload or print them out. There is also a section for tutorials and a place to save photos for sharing. The wristband offers “gesture tracking” among other things, which can track the angle and speed you whisk eggs for instance.

The team has been working with several focus groups. They have presented designs and sketches and performed in-depth interviews. “We talked to a lot of people about food and family and the role of tech in their lives. The product is for everyone but the focus is on adults over 60,” said Manning. 

Traveling to SXSW will allow a much larger user group to test out the product and provide feedback, so that the team can continue working on their model.

 “This team has done an amazing job, applying human-centered design skills to explore how they might improve the lives of aging adults and to create a product that has the potential to change how we use and think about the kitchen,” said Assistant Professor of Systems Design and Engineering Alexandra Coso Strong. “I know the team is looking forward to SXSW where they will have the opportunity to put CoCo in the hands of thousands of potential users and get feedback."