Assignment 7: Idea Pitch

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green sink.png

For high-end restroom designers, the HELSA sink will be part of the next generation of restroom utilities. Unlike traditional sinks, HELSA entices and engages the user to wash their hands for a longer period of time, promoting a healthier lifestyle. Color-changing lights built into the structure of the sink fade from green to red to indicate the user how long they've been washing. This trend will hopefully carry over to other hand washing experiences. In addition to hand washing, the HELSA can be programmed to enhance the ambiance of any restroom.

Shot with my built-in computer webcam and cell phone, the image quality was less then great. But this idea was decided upon after going through a Pugh chart and various ideas generated from previous assignments.

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The name comes from listing out any words I could think of that had to do with light, sinks, hand washing, etc. I decided on HELSA because of the Greek sun god Helios, combined with the word sink, that was also a new word. Which also happens to be a town in Germany apparently.

Since this idea was fairly simplistic in nature, I don't have much in the form of prior concept images. Though I did make a couple more renderings in 3D Studio.

litSink.png

Assignment 6: Idea Evaluation

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For this assignment we needed to pick 10 ideas from our previous work and do some preliminary market research. The purpose of the exercise is to determine if there are any products currently on the market similar to our idea and to get a feel for how much people are willing to pay for similar products.

Below are the 10 ideas I decided to research with some of the notes and related products I found.

1) Fake Poop or some other disgusting thing on the door handles: The point of this idea is to put something in the bathroom that will make people really want to wash their hands. I found a wide range of fake poop gag and novelty products. Most of which were plastic and sold for around $8. I did find a shaving cream can that dispensed brown cream. Patents for these products were hard.

2) & 3) A sink basin that emits light, either statically or dynamically. Static sink lights would be mainly an aesthetic design to entice people to the sink. I was only able to find one lit sink for sale, one as a showcase design, and one as a design concept. The one you can buy was around $50, which matched some of the other just lit faucet designs I found. Faucet attachments with a single light were as low as $3, but for temperature controlled light were $20.

4) & 5) Timed sink lights, or timed process (step) indicator. Timed sink lights would be similar to the above products, only the lights would correspond to how long you need to wash your hands. In my search for lit sinks I found nothing that combined them with hand washing. However, I was able to find a plethora of hand wash timers. These products ranged from industrial use costing over $60, to home use costing as little as $10. One interesting design attached the timer to most standard soap dispensers and played Disney tunes. There are also a number of patents relating to timed hand washers. However, for as many patents and products that are out there, I have never seen these products in the real-world. The other idea was to use LEDs to indicate to the user which step of the process they were on, this patent, takes it one step further and controls the faucet, soap, and hand dryers as well.

6) Gumball soap dispenser. This would be a soap dispenser that looked similar to a gumball machine. Each ball of soap would be a different color and scent, with each use being a random choice. The scents could range from mild (cherry, vanilla, etc.) to more extreme for kids (fart, dirt), I was unable to find anything like this online. Scented soap however, is nothing new. Also, ball soap is fairly common as well, However, nothing is scented strongly, nor single use.

7) & 8) Hand wash monitor or detector. These two ideas ensure that the user has properly washed their hands or at least remains at the sink and alerts the user if they do not. My idea was to use a Microsoft Kinect in the restroom that would monitor people as they enter and walk about the room (not in the stalls though). I found no mention of people using the Kinect to track people in restrooms, nor any other video monitoring. However, there is SureWash, which is only a hand washing technique monitor to show people proper washing routines. Another method was to use a chemical in the soap that would be detected as the user leaves the room. This technology is part of a system used in HyGreen, which I'll talk about below.

9) Effective Signage. The most simplistic idea, just using more effective signs to promote more hand washing. There have been a few studies done on this. Hand wash signs are typically $5-20 depending on the quality of the sign, but could also be a printed sheet of paper ~1cent.

10) RFID Tags. Similar to the restroom monitor, this idea would use RFID tags to register when a user has entered the bathroom and used the sink. Surprisingly, I found a number of these systems that have been implemented in hospitals. HyGreen, HyGenius, Centrak, and HandGiene Corp all sell hand monitor systems. The healthcare worker wears an RFID badge at all times, the badge is registered when the worker enters a room. If the badge has not been scanned at a wash station since their last bed visit, the badge vibrates to remind them to wash. Stats are automatically uploaded and can be viewed from a main database. None of these websites give an estimate of the price for their system, but I can only assume it's extremely expensive.

After this research I decided to move ahead with the following three ideas: Gumball Soap, Lit/Timed Sink, and Kinect Restroom Monitor.

1) Gumball Soap: Since scented soap is easily done, ball soap exists, and gumball machines are also around, the feasibility of this idea is very high. Background search yielded no obvious results, so it's novel, and kids like gumballs, so the idea is marketable. However, the main market for this idea will be kid-restaurant owners (e.g. Chuck-E-Cheese, or McDonalds Play areas), but also a children's hospital. It doesn't make sense to ask a kid how much they would pay for it, but ask if they would use soap like this. I was able to ask a couple kids, and they both expressed an interest, but were not overly excited about the idea. From a cost perspective, the product would have to be as cheap, or at least not too much more expensive than a standard commercial soap dispenser $30-60. Since I am just combining current products, I can evaluate the consumer cost of them and take off a percent for bulk purchases.
$20 for a gumball machine, and ~$5 for bulk scented ball soap. $25 per dispenser - 20% bulk purchases, and x4 for retail price is about $80. So a little more expensive, but promotes better health which can have other benefits.

The sketch model below was used to answer the question: Would kids find a multi-colored soap dispenser more enticing than a normal dispenser?

PDes Assign 6 004.JPG

2) The Lit/Timed Sink: The closest product on the market to this is the LED Sink Basin for ~$50. The sink found had nothing to do with hand washing, so the idea is novel, a timed light and lit basin are simple designs so it's feasible, and people like arty sinks, so the idea has some market potential, depending on the physical design on the sink. I imagined this product to be made from a frosted clear plastic to diffuse the light and give an interesting effect. 15lb of ABS plastic is $15, with $5 of electronics and $5 of LEDs, plus perhaps another $5 in sink hardware, for a total cost of $30, retail price $300. Which is perhaps a bit high, but not completely outside the realm of reality.

Since it was impractical to model a complete sink with lights, I opted to just answer the question: would people follow a hand washing timer? This sketch model simply uses lights to show the user when enough time has passed for hand washing.

PDes Assign 6 003.JPG

3) Kinect Restroom Monitor: This product would be a Kinect setup in the restroom to monitor the activity of the user. If a user fails to wash their hands, their image is taken and stored on a central computer that can be access by the building owner. My background research found no applications of the Kinect in a restroom, but plenty of companies have done other types of hand washing monitors, so the idea is mostly novel. These current systems are extremely expensive and bulky for the user, so a cheaper and less obtrusive solution is marketable. And the Kinect has been shown to track multiple people in a room with little difficulty, so it's definitely feasible. The Kinect system retails for $140, but buying in bulk could yield ~20% savings, plus a computer to handle the video processing would be another $80. However, since most of the cost would be in the software development and little in manufacturing and labor, the retail price would probably be around $1000 per system. Perhaps a bit too expensive for a local restaurant, but if it saves them a fine from the health inspector for employees that don't wash their hands, it would be worth the initial cost. That being said, the primary market for this product is service industry owners, or any other business where employees must wash their hands before returning to work. Unfortunately I do not know any restaurant owners so I was unable to ask them how much they would pay for a system like this.

A prototype of the system is a bit difficult without trying to implement the technology completely, so the picture below is simply the output of some Kinect tracking data.

hand_tracking.png

Assignment 5: Structure Idea Generation

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This week we learned a number of structured idea generation methods. This assignment was to apply some of these techniques to ideas created during the initial brainstorming round. In general, these methods work much better with either a specific task or current product in mind. Therefore, before using the SCAMPER questions, I decided to come up with a more concrete idea.

SCAMPER Base Idea: A hand washing timer and instruction guide. Similar to timed toothbrushes, the idea is to add a device or product near/in the sink that provides the user with a structured hand-washing experience. For the purposes of this exercise I decided this would be a simple electronic box with lights to indicate which step of the washing the user should be on. This program would start once the faucets have been turned on.

base idea.jpg
This is the base idea I was working with.

Substitute:
Replace the lights with a tune/music.
Replace the lights with a vibrating feature in the floor, or sink.
random.jpg

Combine:
Integrate the device directly into the sink.
Or into the soap dispenser.
Add a soap and towel dispenser.
simple lights.jpg

Adapt:
The guts from an electric toothbrush.
Colored LED Faucets
A clothes washing machine for the hands.
Bio-mimicry - Cats bathing themselves (rough spongy surface).

Magnify/Modify:
Large-mirror size notifications.
Lights built into the whole sink that glow.
An All-in-one sink with soap, water, air. (Put hands into machine and wait for clean).
random 2.jpg

Put to Other Use:
Teeth brushing timer for home use.
Kids hand washing, home use.
Girls taking too long at mirror timer.
Hair salons/pet grooming wash station.
Doctors/Surgeons (less to think about).
Manual manufacturing process (repeat washing parts).

Eliminate:
Just a sign with instructions.
A simple timer, with note.
just signs.jpg

Reverse/Rearrange:
Get people out of the bathroom quickly.
Timer counts up.


The other method I used was the Morphological Chart. However, I used a different idea for this chart which was the negative enforcement of hand washing. Where the user would be punished in someway for not washing their hands. For this system to work there needs to be a couple functional requirements. 1) Track the user through the bathroom (identify and distinguish between users), 2) Confirm use of sink, 3) Alert the user of their hand sanitary status, 4) Consequence for not washing. Below is the morphological chart for these requirements.

morphchart.jpg

One idea that came from a combination of this chart is below. Assuming that most people have cell phones in their pockets and those cell phones give off a unique wave signature, a reader would detect a new signal pattern near the toilet and save it to the system. A second reader at the sinks would register the status of the hands, and a final reader near the door would open the door automatically.

phone track.jpg

Another system using only the Microsoft Kinect would be able to accurately track up 6 people and identify if they have stayed near the sink. This could trigger an alarm if the user leaves without going near the sinks.

Assignment 4: Brainstorming

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This week we were tasked with facilitating a brainstorming session with a few people in connection to our sink/basin product idea generation. Using the slides from class as a guide, I put together a presentation for an hour long session with some of my family and friends.

Presentation.pdf

Who attended:
Kelly, 25, High School Teacher
Alex, 25, Robotics Engineer
Tim, 24, Systems Engineer
Jesi, 24, Stay at Home Mom
Sara, 29, Elementary School Teacher
Erik, 28, Chiropractor
Lisa, 26, Psychology Student

I was able to get a number of people, unfortunately the age distribution was a bit limited. It was difficult to get older/younger people together on a Friday night. However, the backgrounds of the people were fairly diverse, so I feel I got a number of different perspectives.

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Agenda:
The agenda can be seen in the slides, but here is a summary.
Welcome and Purpose - explain why I gathered everyone, the class, and what we are about to do.
Improvisation Games - do a few quick improv games to get people warmed up, moving, and their right brain active.
Brainstorming Rules - explain the process of brainstorming, why we do it, and the basic rules.
Warm-up Round - a quick round to come up with paper clip ideas.
Problem Explanation and Setup - explain some of the found issues with hand washing in public sinks.
Round 1 - plain brainstorming
Round 2 - add candy
Round 3 - rolestorming
Round 4 - reverse ideas
Round 5 - brute force/cross products
Wrap-up - voting and thank you's

I followed the class schedule pretty closely, but tried to keep the number of rounds and total session to less than a hour. I also included a lot of the information presented in class from previous lectures as well since I thought it would be important to explain some of the background and purpose behind the madness they were about to ensue.

Results:
The improv games were a good way to start and got everyone in a good mood. They took to the games very quickly and got interested in the theory behind the brainstorming. Before starting the actual problem statement prompt, I had one round where everyone had to think of interesting things to do with a paper clip. In a five minute round with 7 people, they came up with 42 ideas for an idea rate of 1.2 ideas per person per minute, which was significantly higher than I was expecting. I could barely keep up with tacking the ideas to my wall. (I used the 3M suction table-top strip dispenser).

PDes Assign 4 001.JPG

The prompt for the actual brainstorming session turned into: "Products that promote more people to wash their hands in public restrooms." After five rounds of 3-5 minutes each with various techniques, there over 200 ideas generated. My living room was nearly completely covered in paper, and I still could not keep up with putting them on the walls; mainly because I was having to run across the room to find open wall space. At the end, everyone was given time to vote for their five favorite ideas which are shown below.

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Ideas:
1. An automatic door at the entrance so you don't have to touch the door when you leave (Lisa).
2. A coupon/free drink voucher on the paper towels (Jesi), could be improved if the coupon only appears when the soap/water come in contact with the towel (Andy).
3. Funny smelling soap, in crazy scents like popcorn, cherry, etc. (Kelly), should be different with each pull of the dispenser (Andy).
4. Post pictures of disgusting things and facts about germs in the stalls (Jesi).
5. Sirens that go off when you don't wash your hands (Kelly).
6. The ability to pick a jukebox song when your hands are washed (Tim).
7. Black lights all over the bathroom to see germs (Alex).
8. Separate co-ed washrooms so the opposite sex can see when you don't wash (Erik).
9. Cute robots with audio/visual reminders (Kelly).
10. "50% of men don't wash their hands, do you?" sign (Sara).
11. A kitchen atmosphere (Alex).
12. Facebook notifications that get sent out if you don't wash (Tim).
13. Buddy system, having someone else wash your hands (Alex).
14. Pass inspection before allowed to leave (Jesi).
15. A sink that looks more like a water fountain (Tim).
16. Play 'Rush' (the Canadian rock band) in the restroom to promote longer stays (Alex).
17. Free Puppies (not sure if this was related to hand washing, or just a general idea) (Jesi).
18. High-pressure sinks to clean under finger nails (Sara).
19. Soap and water in one (Jesi).
20. Glass faucets with lights (Sara).

Ideas1-8.jpg

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There were a number of ideas that fit into some general categories:
People or assistants in the bathroom to encourage or help you with hand washing.
Positive or negative reinforcement for hand washing.
Information spreading to promote better washing etiquette.
Putting gross things (poop, raw chicken, etc), or things that only look gross on surfaces so people really want to wash.

Other ideas to mention:
While doing a grandparent rolestorming, an idea was simple deny there was a problem (Alex).
Dehydrate customers so they use the restroom less (Alex).
Paper Towel Eating Goats, Animals that lick your hands clean (Sara).
Your mother in the restroom (Lisa).

Refined Ideas:
Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself, but after looking through all the ideas that were generated, I combined a few and refined a couple ideas to be a bit more marketable.

Drawing from smelly soap and inspections, one idea would be to have a particular chemical in the soap. This chemical would be detected at the exit and open the door to the user. If the chemical is not detected, they can still leave, but they have to use a manual handle. A sign on the door can read, "This handle has only been touched by the people who refuse to wash their hands. And you know where those hands have been..."

A sleek-looking sink with internal lights and mild sounds that play a tune and light up while using so you know how long to wash your hands.

Coating the surfaces of the restroom with a pressure sensitive paint that changes colors when touched. This would allow everyone to see the most touched places and would hopefully promote them to wash their hands when they see what they actually come in contact with.

Bug List/Idea Wallet

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Going on the suggestion in class, I started using Pinterest as a documentation method for my project, a bug list, and idea wallet. In the world of technology, it is not often that I'm carrying a notepad. However, I am rarely without my cell phone. Using a combination of automatic uploads through Google+ and the Pinterest board, it's easy to link pictures of the things I find are interesting or annoying. Below is the link to my Pinterest profile:

http://pinterest.com/andrew_carlson/pins/

Assignment 3: Information Collection

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The best source of information is yourself and personal experiences. However, personal experiences will only take you so far. There are also times when you as a designer have never, or could never use the product (e.g. surgery tools). Therefore, background research is an important step in the creation process. It is an excellent opportunity to expand what you know and learn from users.

For this project I have decided to focus my attention on public sinks; specifically sinks in restrooms for the purpose of washing hands. Even in this category there are still many different things that can be covered, sanitation issues, soap/towel dispensers, aesthetic qualities, faucet design, etc. So my first step was to begin a new mind map based only on public sinks.

q2vj20h_Public-Sinks.png

Once I exhausted my initial thoughts, I then went to the internet and did some basic image searches for pubic sinks, hand washing, and restrooms in general. Adding the word 'design' to any of these searches will usually result in some interesting products and even a blog or website devoted to the area. Some of the findings of these searches are posted on my Pinterest boards (see the next blog for a link).

In addition to searching the internet for ideas, I have started to take pictures of every public sink I use from now on (a slow but continuous process). This will hopefully allow me to pay more attention to the spaces I use on a frequent basis. These pictures will also be posted on my Pinterest boards. Since these sinks are public, it will be difficult to do 'fly on the wall' observations without drawing unwanted attention. So my casual observations will take some time to accomplish.

The advantage to this particular topic, is that nearly everyone is a user. There are very few people that don't use a public sink, and their opinion would probably be the most interesting to capture. Therefore I decided to form a small focus group with some of my friends to get their thoughts on public sinks.

I started the focus group by getting everyone to contribute to a central mind-map on what they thought of public sinks. Though the activity was mainly to get the group thinking about sinks, the final product was not spectacular. The meeting probably should have started with a game or something informal to get everyone in a comfortable mood.

mindmap.jpg

My next activity was to have everyone draw what they envision a public sink to be. Whether it was a sink they use frequently, their ideal sink, or some combination. I was curious to see what people would include, or omit, from their drawings. The idea was to see what people value or remember of something they do everyday. Did they draw a soap dispenser, trash on the counter, a mirror, etc? How many sinks are in the picture? After the drawings were done, the table was open for explaining their pictures, commenting on each others, and identifying items.

sinks.jpg

The final part of the focus group was to ask everyone a few questions about sinks and get a dialogue started on anything that wasn't covered in the other activities. These questions included things like:


  • Is there a particular sink that stands out in your mind as being particularly interesting or ideal, and what are the qualities of the sink that make you think this?

  • Has there ever been a time you refused to use a public sink and why?

  • What challenges do you think you would encounter if you were disabled and trying to use a public sink?

  • And finally, If current technology wasn't a limitation, what magic or useful products would make a using a public sink more enjoyable or easier?

There are a number of other activities that I would like to have done as well, for example, having everyone writing down as many adjectives that describe a public sink, and then sharing their top three. However, overall, the focus group went alright and I got some interesting notes. Here are some in summary, these would be good problem areas to start from to get ideas for a new product.


  • Girls get annoyed when other girls are blocking the sink because they are too busy looking in the mirror.

  • Automatic soap dispensers sometimes make a bigger mess because they are on too long or go without a user.

  • A lot of the process of hand washing is mostly ritual. Could there be a completely different way to sanitize your hands, or not have the need to sanitize your hands?

  • Most public sink use is at work, in the same bathroom day in and day out.

  • People enjoy the feeling a privacy and a more 'at home' atmosphere in restrooms.

  • Embedded sinks (in the counter top, not free standing) are dirty and full of water.

Assignment 2: Brainstorming

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Last Wednesday we were given a sneak preview into our out-of-class assignment for the semester. Sinks. And so without giving too many details, our blog topic for the week is brainstorming overarching ideas on sinks: types, materials, locations, uses, etc. This will be useful as a point of personal background information gathering, a little bit of research, and 'previous works' collection.

As discussed in class, a comedic and humorous viewpoint on topics is correlated with more creative idea generation. To get into this mind-set I took a few friends to a stand-up comedy show at ACME Comedy Club in Minneapolis. After the show we came home and played a couple games related to the improv activities done in class. The most popular game we played had a sheet of paper for everyone and with one minute you had to write as much of a story as possible. When the minute was up, the paper was passed to the right and you had to read the new story and add as much to it in the next minute. This would continue for 4-5 rounds and each person would read their final story aloud. Though creative, most of the stories were not appropriate to share explicitly.

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The next step was to create a mind map. This was first done in the lab notebook, but as the map started to expand, room was getting tight. One useful tool that I found in the past is a mind-mapping website called: https://bubbl.us/ This is a free, online tool that allows you to create interactive mind-maps. The great thing about a document like this, is that the entries are easily movable, collapsible, and editable. This can be a continuous living document updated to new ideas. The map can also be shared between multiple users. The downside is the lack of freedom for things like multiple connections or doodles.

I started with some of the basic topics for any product, things like shape, materials, uses, locations, etc. From here, the sub-trees started to get more specific and more interesting. I found it interesting that the first couple branches were very generic and could be used for any new project. This could be a good base to save for later. Below is what the mind-map currently looks like.

q2vj4kf_New-Sheet.jpg

Another interesting thing about this mind-map is how the topics get progressively more abstract as you move outward. This makes it fun to look at the fringe and see a random word like "April Fools" and trace it back and making the connection.

While making the mind-map I started to get a few ideas for 'silly products' that are related to sinks/basins. Below are some of those ideas:

1: Expanding Sponge: By combining the concept of those sponge, grow-toys like dinosaurs and aliens with a cleaning sponge, you could make a wand device with an expanding sponge on the end that would do a better job at cleaning odd-shape glassware.

2: Party Rack: A sink is basically a bowl with a drain. Coolers also have drains, and people sometimes use the sink to store things. This would be a product similar to a drying rack, but for bottles and cans. This way you could turn your sink into a temporary cooler during parties.

3: Flavored Water Tap: Many people have a hard time drinking enough water and resort to pop and other unhealthy things. People also use in-tap water purifiers. How about combining an in-tap water purifier with some sort of flavor element to create citrus water or other flavors straight from the tap.

4: Automated Hand Washing: Public restrooms are a disaster for sanitation issues. Even if you wash your hands thoroughly, there are still many places that cannot stay clean. We already have automatic sinks, soap dispensers, and towels. But how about combining everything into one station. Put your hands inside, they are sprayed with a mist of a water/soap mixture, then water to rinse, and without taking your hands out, the air-blowers start.

autohandwash.png

5: Sinking Sink: A play on words, simply having a sink shaped like a sinking ship.

sinking_sink2_png

6: Novelty Sinks: Looking more on the aesthetics of the design. Changing the basin area to something non-conventional but similar in form, like an apple crate, or beer barrel.

7: Car Sink: Along with thinking about where you commonly find sinks, it was also interesting to think of places where you would never find a sink. Like a car, this could be a mini-vanity to brush your teeth on the way to work (the passenger only of course).

8: Color Changing Sinks: Similar to the light temperature indicator, but instead of being on the faucet the whole sink could change color with a thermal reactive paint.

9: Collapsible Sink: For very small bathrooms or when you want to stand closer to the mirror. The sink would be on a hinge and fold down and into the wall slightly. The drain would need to be made of a flexible rubber to accommodate the motion.

folding_sink.png

10: Sizable Sink: Also for a small apartment, a re-sizable sink in the kitchen could accommodate for when you need more counter space verses when it's time to do the dishes. This could be as simple as a fitted cover on the sink, or a semi-rigid material that can be pushed out to expand or contract the actual basin of the sink.

These ideas are a decent start, but they are still not in the tail of idea generation. It's getting there, and I hope over the next couple weeks as I exhaust all the 'normal' ideas, the more interesting ones will start to come.

Assignment 1: Cookies

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For the first assignment in the PDes5701 class we were required to create a new cookie recipe. Using a standard knowledge base, a little research, and a lot of trial-and-error this new creation needed to be something previously unseen yet still possessing value. The extent of that value is still up for debate.

To start this assignment I went to my main source for all things food related: Good Eats. Alton Brown's Food Network show explaining the science and theory of cooking, baking, and anything else in the kitchen. There are a couple Good Eats episodes dealing with cookies, but I needed the basics. My current knowledge of cookie baking comes in the form of pre-cut Pillsbury tubes that require little more than a mild heating.

Alton explained the differences in three basic cookie recipes, a flat crispy, a fluffy, and a chewy. Each iteration made minor modifications to the base (a slightly more complicated combination than the one discussed in Ratio). Discussing the trade-offs in brown and white sugar, different flours, and even baking power vs. soda. This is also where I learned the "creaming method" for combining ingredients when mixing everything together (sugars and fats first, then liquids, then dry, and finally the toppings).

Armed with a base knowledge of cookies, I needed to think of what my creation was going to be. I started brainstorming a list of cookies, everything from the classic chocolate-chip, oatmeal raisins, macaroons, various Christmas cookies, and even fortune cookies. However, these were all in the 'Family Feud' list.

My next list started to get a little more interesting, moving away from conventional cookies with a few themes.

The Breakfast Cookie: Scrambled Eggs Base, Bacon, Sausage, Maple Syrup
The Bar Food Cookie: Deep Dried Batter Base, Cheese, Pretzels, Nachos
The Health Cookie: Lettuce Base, Dried Fruit, Nuts
The Fruit Cookie: Sugar Base, Kiwis, Strawberries
The Grilled Cookie: Bread Base, Baked Beans, Hot Dog Bits, Cheese

Then came some more abstract ideas for cookies:
Cookie Monster, Cookie Dough, Ice-Cream Cookies, Internet Cookies, Brownies, Cakes

Or perhaps alternative cookie ingestion methods like a drinkable cookie, or cookie smells.

Cookies that satisfy more than just taste. This could be a cookie that plays music when you bit into it. Or even better, a cookie that doubles as a musical instrument, even as simple as a whistle or harmonica.

Given the time constraints and my personal baking abilities, not to mention the lack of baking utilities in my apartment, I had to come back down to something a little more tangible. I looked through my pantry to figure out what I had and what I needed (which was most everything). It was necessary to look for some substitutions for baking ingredients. This brought me to the following 'accepted' alternatives. 1: 3/4 cup maple syrup for 1 cup sugar, and 2: 3/4 fruit concentrate for 1 cup sugar.

Seeing these suddenly made the breakfast cookies a more open possibility. I made a flavor map (unintentionally very) similar to the flavor bouncing method described in the available resources.

PDes Assign 1 002.JPG

I then took the Good Eats recipes and mixed and matched my flavor map with the substitutions, and new flavors until I arrive at the following:

2.25 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Egg
A splash of milk
1.5 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Butter Flavored Shortening
3/8 Cup Maple Syrup
3/4 Cup Orange Juice Concentrate (thawed)
1 Cup Cooked Bacon (chopped)
1 Cup Cooked Sausage (chopped)

Immediately after adding the sugars and fats to the mixing bowl I realized this recipe was headed for disaster. The oil in the shortening was not combining well with the water of the fruit concentrate, but I knew the egg would act as a buffer, so I continued.

PDes Assign 1 004.JPG

Finally getting all but the last ingredients together, the mixer started to resemble an actual cookie dough; however with a very strong orange/maple-y aroma. At this point I knew I could make a perfectly fine cookie without spoiling the entire batch. So I split the batter before adding the meat filling.

Now for the bacon!

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With the meat filling now added to the batter, I scooped out spoonfuls onto parchment paper and baked at 350deg.

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While the first batch was in, I realized that the batter and ingredients were close to pancakes, so I took a spoonful and tossed it on the frying pan. Though the edges started burning before the middle cook, the final result was not terrible. The meat flavor was subtle, and resembled eating a McGriddle.

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To enhance the meat flavor, I added more fillings to the batter. This time I was sure to get chunks of bacon and sausage. However, as expected, the final result was not something for the faint of heart, or taste.

As a control, I decided to bake one batch untouched (no meat). Adding from my pancake divergence, I also grabbed a few other ingredients on-hand that would work in a normal pancake. The next two batches included bananas and blueberries respectively. These turned out much better with bananas wining in consistency, overall appearance, and taste.

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Lessons learned: Even though there is no granulated sugar in this recipe, it is incredibly sweet. Meat should not be haphazardly added to desserts unless you really like bacon.

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