Designing and Evaluating Novel Interactive Technologies Using Gas Sensors to Support Novice Cooks
- Author(s): Hirano, Sen Hsia
- Advisor(s): Hayes, Gillian R
- et al.
While obesity in America reaches epidemic proportions, at-home cooking rates and cooking skills have been on the decline. Cooking at home improves nutrition and increases weight loss, even in people not attempting to lose weight. Previous explorations in the cooking space have tended to focus on supporting cooking practices. Few, however, have looked at the challenges and decisions that occur during cooking, particularly for novice cooks. My interviews with novice cooks indicate that among other challenges, novices struggle with identifying and tracking cooking phases—the stages that food transitions through as it is being cooked—which results in badly cooked meals, as well as stress and anxiety about cooking. In a complementary study, I explored the capabilities of using gas sensors to provide cooking insight, and found that patterns in the signals can reveal the cooking phases that cause so many challenges for novice cooks. Building on these two studies, I developed and evaluated an interactive sensing system focused on teaching novice cooks to detect and act on the cooking phases. Participants who used the gas sensor visualizations achieved better cooking outcomes than those who did not, regardless of whether the lack of use of sensors was due participant choice or the lack of sensors as an option. These studies open up new trajectories for exploring the insights that gas sensor data provide and how to use such data to support novice cooks.