Koocook was founded on the idea that food brings people together.
It’s evident that our future homes will be connected to the cloud. With the development and use of smart assistants and smart sensors, some people fear that these devices will make humans lazy and unproductive. We want to flip that idea and embrace technology, using it to educate, motivate, and build communities.
Food-sharing has long been a universal act of community-building in all recorded cultures in history. In America, family mealtime rituals and local community gatherings used to be how people came together as one, but those practices are quickly disappearing. As household sizes get smaller, family dinners are more difficult to sustain. A snacking-alone-anytime culture is replacing consistent meal routines. Moreover, the convenience of grab-and-go single-serve portions and long-distance travelling for work only makes it more realistic to eat for practical satiation rather than for other purposes.
In 2018, a survey of 20,000 Americans by the national insurance provider Cigna revealed that nearly half of Americans feel alone or left out. Members of Gen Z, the youngest generation in our society, had the highest loneliness score according to the comprehensive UCLA Loneliness Scale. Loneliness has been linked with higher risks of heart disease, depression, and even premature death. While loneliness is something we all have felt in our life, it is now a social crisis. This is often attributed to toxic social media and technology, but we believe that there’s more to it: food.
Meet the Team
"I live in my kitchen."
"I love to cook coconut jello."
Ting-Hsun Danny Lee
"I only cook.. with friends!"
Future of Home AI
While AI currently plays the role of an assistant, we wanted to look into the future when this technology is more fully developed.
How can AI play a more active role in the home?
Trends: Co-Living and Cooking at Home
Despite being in larger communities, people living in co-living spaces are struggling to build trust and feel connected.
Home cooking is being revived, not for family dinners but to socialize in an intimate space.
Why Don't People Cook?
We chose to explore a home-cooking facilitator that helps people plan, schedule, and cook with other people. As we dove deeper into the concept, we felt that we were targeting a shallow problem. Cooking saves money and is healthier.
Why aren’t people cooking more to begin with? What were the barriers to cooking at home?
Mockup UI for splitting tasks between 3 people.
Our new goal was to provide an enjoyable cooking experience for inexperienced chefs.
of survey respondents prefer to cook with someone else.
As a result, our main feature involves cooking with people.
Cooking involves a lot of tasks and was seen as a laborious process.
Our product highlights the outcome instead of the labor.
In our field research, we found that people had all sorts of cumbersome methods for learning new recipes.
By incorporating a kitchen island UI display with voice control, we make learning and cooking easy peasy.
From validation interviews, people told us that they would continue using the service if the recipes were actually good.
That where the AI comes in handy — it can learn from your tastes and give great suggestions based on food you like.
And to help people build good habits, we transformed this product into a cooking game with built-in rewards — recipes to unlock, badges to earn, and groceries to redeem.
Through a real-time usability test with a new recipe, we validated that the instructions are understandable and the game feels fun. We made tweaks to accommodate people who already know how to cook, and revised the obstacles to be less stressful.
Our final game design is a combination of tabletop screen UI and mobile app.
Here are pictures of the prototype shown in real life setting.