Science Fiction in the Kitchen: An Exploration of User Experiences with Smart Home Kitchen Appliances

Elisa Gioia Katrin Schwarzbeck

Student thesis: Master thesis


How wonderful would it be to be able to always present a perfect dish? A meal that tastes as delicious as it looks. At the table, both you and your guests would be happy, enjoying the success of your cooking. They might even give you compliments, which would certainly boost your self-confidence and motivation to repeat this feeling over and over again. But who is cooking in our kitchens? How many skills and how much time and joy do or can we invest in food preparation nowadays? Looking back at the last century, there has been a multitude of kitchen tools, aiming to help us prepare food, i.e. the steamer or rice cooker. These were probably the first ideas for innovative systems that automatize the process of food preparation. Arrived in the 21st century, there is an emerging trend in the market of home kitchen appliances that automatize the steps of cutting, baking, stirring and cooking the food, just to name a few. The more processes the tool takes over, the more guaranteed is the success of the perfect meal. But how much did you prepare yourself? Today, the evolution of cooking technology has arrived to a paradigm shift. Instead of solely automatizing the food preparation process, technologies now also have the aim to empower people, to bring them back to the roots of the ingredients and cooking techniques by teaching them stepwise. In combination with the growing connectedness, Smart Cooking Technology (SCT) is born. This project investigates how values and needs of potential users are reflected in the experience of using SCT appliances. Based on developments of tools since the 1950’s, the evolution is set into today’s context. In order to explore the motives for food preparation with SCT, interviews have been conducted to gain information on user values, reflected in their cooking behaviour, their expectations and attitude towards SCT. Next, the three pillars of the theory chapter are initiated by the definition of both SCT and related terms. The second pillar explains how the usage of SCT is connected to three different levels of experiences. These are finally set into user perspective by relating them to four underlying types of values that users wish to have fulfilled. The research enables the creation of an overview, which illustrates the spectrum of solutions by cooking with SCT and the experience the technology provides to answer the needs and values of users

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages82
SupervisorsMari-Klara Stein