KSU Masters Project Journal

Week 1

Master's Project Proposal

Original Proposal Documentation - Click Here

Smart Kitchen: The Amazon Fresh Refrigerator & Voice based UX integrated Alexa

“ The set of plausible sounding startup ideas is many times larger than the set of good ones, and many of the good ones don't even sound that plausible. So if all you know about a startup idea is that it sounds plausible, you have to assume it's bad.”  

Paul Grahamis  Co-Founder, YCombinator


Overview and Executive Summary


What is a Smart Kitchen? Is it a refrigerator that speaks to you, teaches you to cook, stocks itself, suggests/orders products you've never ordered before, stocks existing products you use daily, entertains family members queries while in the kitchen. This may have seemed implausible years ago. Is it though?


Does a Smart Kitchen leverage voice-activated software applications? Is the goal to further our convenience in lifestyle utilizing technology?  A clear trend is rising from large companies like Samsung, Amazon, and Apple computer. Each of these companies is trying to increase consumer adoption via convenience utilizing voice UX. One example is the Alexa project from Amazon. How might the smart Kitchen work with Alexa?


How can these types of user experience design applications be integrated into different parts of our homes and lifestyle? The kitchen is fast becoming one of the least used areas of homes today because most families and working professionals simply do not have the time or energy by the end of the workday to a source, prepare, cook, and clean nightly. Another interesting trend has happened in food-based startups. The food industry brought to your home is one of the biggest businesses for startups today.  To name a few, blueapron.com, plated.com, thegoodkitchen.com, and hellofresh.com.


If Alexa was to take over where these new food startups have stopped what might this become? Can a smart refrigerator compete with hellofresh.com? How might Alexa bring you back into your kitchen and go a step further to expose you to a Smart Experiences of foods and preparation techniques and products you've never experienced?  In this Master's Project, I hope to explore this possibility and focus specifically on ideation and prototyping a smart kitchen.

Source: Money Magazine,  Summer 2017
Forbes, March 2016  The Ultimate Guide To The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services


Goals of the Independent Study


The goal of this Independent study is to expand on the creative process and further support ideation and prototyping skills. Prototyping, creativity, the blending of existing technologies with voice-based UX solutions are hot topics of focus in interviews with stakeholders today. My primary goal is to demonstrate out of the box thinking and the ability to wed multiple existing solutions including technology and product solutions into a larger business ecosystem to support consumer needs with a long-term vision and roadmap for success. I believe that exercising skill sets such as these are critical to Landing a job whereby as a Visionary and Product Design Lead I can lead a team to A successful launch of an MVP.


  1. Discover voice-based UX techniques using the Book; Design for voice user interfaces, Principles of conversational experiences By Cathy Pearl

  2. Consider the recruitment of an existing Amazon research employee to act as a  Technical advisor throughout this program.

  3. Explore Smart in-home Technologies - Consider pre-existing products smart efforts like Nest Thermostats, Abode Home Security Starter Kit, Philips Hue, Roomba 960, Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, and the Robomow RS622. Explore/research and report on blending these products with advanced voice-activated systems like the Amazon Alexa system.

  4. Plan, wed, and solve for the integration of HCI based solutions using voice-based UX techniques and other solutions like mixed reality and mixed reality UX applications if and when necessary to create a more immersive consumer experience in the Kitchen

  5. Explore food-based services from the Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Marketplace. Consider and report on ideas as to how you might wed these into a standard refrigerator. Look at competing services.

  6. Sketch, diagram, critique, and prototype Solutions and share with my advisory team. Rinse and repeat the process.

  7. Present a final case study displaying the journey of the independent study.

  8. Craft an argument for the application of such a consumer-based product and existing business ecosystem.


For the purposes of this independent study project, however, developing the foundation for a refrigerator that is intelligent enough to engage with sensors, products, and user activities such as estimating expired dates on products and reorder products and keep them stocked should you choose.


Amazon Fresh Refrigerator with Voice based UX integrated Alexa - Ideate on and consider the integration of the Alexa voice activated products line into a standard consumer refrigerator. This refrigerator would allow for users to engage with and explore new foods, fruits, and other ingredients for the kitchen environment in a discovery manor much like Pandora allows users to experience stations and music associations they've never experienced before. As expected this appliance would uses sensors on products like Orange Juice to track what we use and when as well as assist us in the home-based delivery and reordering.


The food industry brought to your home is one of the biggest businesses for startups today. To name a few, blueapron.com, thegoodkitchen.com, and hellofresh.com. The concept of an Amazon based refrigerator takes this kind of home-based service to a completely new level. Imagine a refrigerator that not only can come up with what you'll be cooking today but also takes care of the purchase delivery and possibly even some of the food preparation so that all you have to do is show up pull the ingredients out of the fridge and prepare them as a professional chef would. With Alexa as your cooking assistant, and Amazon as your sous chef, the Amazon Fresh Refrigerator offers services and amenities far beyond your average icebox. 


"With Alexa as your cooking assistant, and Amazon as your sous chef, the Amazon Fresh Refrigerator offers services and amenities far beyond your average icebox."

The intention of the Masters Project

There are endless opportunities to incorporate Voice-driven user experience design as well as mixed reality design into our daily lives and kitchens. Thus far and my professional career my experience is quite minimal with respect to Voice UX or mixed reality UX. However, After experiencing the Alexa buy Amazon and home device as well as other fascinating Trends in the mixed reality field I would love to explore the combination of these cutting-edge applications within the constructs of our daily lives.

The focus of this Master's project is primarily prototyping and ideation as well as initial qualitative research and data collection for possible applications of the above as a design proposal. The focus of this Master's project will be on three dimensions of the Kent State University's UXD program LUMEN Model. The three dimensions of focus will be on Understand (U) 10%, Imagine (iM) 80%, and Evaluate (E) 10%. See LUMEN Model focal area below.

Suggested Design Metaphor

The Amazon Fresh refrigerator with Alexa integrated  voice system acts like the Pandora of the kitchen introducing Amazon Prime customers to the basic conveniences of products across the Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market place like Pandora, the music service that introduces you to new bands and music via channels, The Amazon Fresh refrigerator introduces consumers to new food menus and ingredients and stocks them in your fridge then uses Alexa to step by step teach you how to cook.

The proposal continues in the link below.

Original Proposal Documentation - Click Here

MCDT is a Design and UX Consultancy

© 2012-2016 

MCDT Consulting