Assignment 7


Concept Selection and Idea Pitches

Pretty excited with this assignment in narrowing down to the one final product idea.
The top five ideas were:

(1) Ultimate Weather Watch
(2) Stress Meter
(3) Vital Scarf
(4) Ice Repeller
(5) Office Workout Chair

Shown below is the Pugh chart i created with 7 criteria I wanted to evaluate and select the product against.

Pugh Chart.jpg

Looking at the chart it was quite easy to eliminate the first idea which is the ice repeller. Although it is a great product idea, it needs a chemist to design and create a magic liquid which will repel ice on windshield and other parts of the car, which is far away from my reach.

Next elimination was the vital scarf, although it seems like a nice idea I am not into technology designs for apparels.

Honestly the ultimate weather watch and workout office chair were my equal favorites but the stress meter compliments all parts of the criteria that i evaluated and as an electrical/biomedical engineer I strongly feel that the Stress Meter is a pertinent match and that I can contribute towards transforming this idea into a marketable and usable product to help people with their stresses.

Hence, the Stress Meter is my top best product idea that I want to pursue further. The following figure shows the final sketch of the Stress Meter, which can display Heart, respiration signal and body temperature based on which the level of stress is displayed as low, medium or high.


Elevator Pitch:

The video can be found here:


This assignment was straightforward in designing the Pugh Chart to narrow down to the top idea for product realization. I should admit that designing the pitch video was rather challenging to encompass all required entities and yet be informative.

Assignment 6


Preliminary Idea Evaluation

My top 10 ideas after a preliminary amazon check were:

(P1) Convertible ski sticks
(P2) Vital Scarf
(P3) Electro Boots
(P4) Ice Repeller
(P5) Nutri Profile App
(P6) Power Shovel
(P7) Stress Meter
(P8) Ultimate Weather Watch
(P9) Workout Office Chair
(P10) Calorie Watch


For this part of the assignment I conducted a survey by distributing them through email and also handing them a printed version to few random people around Mayo Clinic Campus. The survey can be found here Survey.docx. I included the images of each product idea to give them a better grasp of the product concept and simple 3 questions of "Would you buy it", "How much you will pay", and " Rate this product idea" did the job!

18 people answered my survey when I decided to analyze the data and the following plot shows the results for the average price people are willing to pay for each of these products if they were available:


The average idea rating from the 18 people who completed the survey rounded to the closest 0.25 step value can be seen below:

Idea Rating.JPG

The % of people who said yes to buying this product is the most important feedback to get for a new product design and launch. The following graph plots the % YES and Idea rating from the previous graph to give a notion for the top 5 best product ideas that have potential for market launch if realized into a product.

Yes Rating.JPG

Based on the above analysis and keeping in mind the bias from survey research (honest answers) the top 5 ideas (1: Top; 5 - Bottom) are as below:

1: Ultimate Weather Watch
2: Stress Meter
3: Vital Scarf
4: Ice Repeller
5: Workout Office Chair

It was very interesting to note that the Ultimate Weather Watch was the sole winner getting a 100% YES and also a high idea rating of 2.


A: Benchmarking

For this part of the assignment I decided to take a new approach by finding the most pertinent benchmark product available in the market and contrasting their features and price with the proposed idea that can be realized into the product. Coming up with a 2x2 and clustering was rather challenging, and I am confidant that the concept of benchmarking will be well addressed with this approach.

(1) Ultimate Weather Watch:

While it is a good news that currently no similar product exists for this idea, selecting a benchmark product for weather watch body suit was quite challenging. The closest product is the heated blanket system which is mostly indoor application and needs to be plugged into a power outlet. The visualization of this idea into a product is compared with the blanket for its features and price as shown below:

Heated Blanket.jpg

(2) Stress Meter:

A benchmark product that is available in the market is the stress thermometer. It is purely based on sensing body temperature and indicates stress levels which costs $21.95. The new idea of stress meter will incorporate a more robust algorithm for detecting stress levels based on ECG, respiration, blood pressure and temperature and indicates the level of stress such as low, medium or high. The visualization of this idea into a product is compared with the stress thermometer for its features and price as shown below:

Stress Thermometer.jpg

(3) Vital Scarf:

A benchmark product for this idea is the "available on demand" product called the FIT ECG shirt by the company called clearbridgevitalsigns, Singapore. The product can exist only with other other Cardio Leaf devices by the company such as for display, analysis etc. The price of this device is undisclosed but an estimate implies around $300. The vital scarf or jacket that is proposed with not only feature ECG, but also respiration (without the belt), temperature and will help the user be on track with these vitals during winter as well with a scarf or a jacket. The visualization of this idea into a product is compared with the FIT ECG shirt for its features and price as shown below:

Life FIT Shirt.jpg

(4) Ice Repeller:

A benchmark product for this idea is the DuPont ice and snow repellent. This product cannot be applied to windshield and vehicles exterior based on the chemical compositions. The proposed idea for ice repeller on windshield is a silicone based non-toxic chemical that can be applied to windshield and vehicle exterior without any remnants. The visualization of this idea into a product is compared with the DuPont Ice/snow repellent for its features and price as shown below:

Ice Repellent.jpg

(5) Office Workout Chair:

A benchmark product for this idea is the "Sivan Health and Fitness Balance Fit Chair with ball and pump" that costs $64.99. This unit doesn't help in burning calories as there is no exercise training equipped, and also no vital sign monitoring, rather provides a stress revving comfortable seating. The visualization of this idea into a product is compared with the "Sivan Health and Fitness Balance Fit Chair with ball and pump" for its features and price as shown below:

Office Workout Chair.jpg

B: Patent Search

I used the google patent search tool to perform an extended search in relation to the 5 top product ideas. Mostly I used the exact names in the search and analyzed them for top 5 related patents for each product and pinned down 1 most related patent for each of them.

(1) Ultimate Weather Watch:

Related Patent:




This invention relates to an heated clothing with autonomous heating source with thermally insulated suit adapted to cover the human body, portable low-temperature heat generation module, infrared window for energy delivery, heat energy distribution system to supply heat to different parts of the body, temperature control system, including the temperature sensors, responsible for maintaining proper temperatures at different parts of the body and moisture adsorbing pads to remove excessive moisture originating from sweating.

(2) Stress Meter:

Related Patent:




This invention provides techniques for wellness self-monitoring where fluctuations in one or more biometrics such as body temperature, heart rate, etc. are computed iteratively and the incorporated algorithms aid in effective wellness management by measuring stress levels.

(3) Vital Scarf:

Related Patent:




This invention portrays a method of monitoring the physiological functioning and condition of a person using sensors in a garment body Wearing by the person to continuously monitor the physiological functioning and conditions With a display for two-Way inquiry or real-time treatment.

(4) Ice Repeller:

Related Patent:

COMPOSITIONS FOR USE THEREIN - US 20060036053A1; Gallagher et al. Feb. 16, 2006



This invention is a method of preventing frost and facilitating removal of Winter precipitation relative to a windshield, comprising applying to a Windshield a Winter precipitation barrier composition.

(5) Workout Office Chair:

Related Patent:

OFFICE AND DESK EXERCISE CHAIR SYSTEM - US 20080203776A1; Mongelluzzo et al. Aug. 28, 2008



This invention related to isotonic exercise system incorporated into an ergonomic desk or task chair for providing exercise training and stress relief for a user with optimal convenience.


(1) Ultimate Weather Watch:

This was the highly rated product idea with 100% of them willing to buy it if it was available. In a realistic sense, with the available technologies these days it is quite practical to realize this into a usable product. Once challenge would be to identify a safe heating element that can be interwoven throughout the dress with integrated sensors and matching algorithms to set the temperature to the users desired value depending upon the external ambient temperature that is senses in real time. The people who completed the survey gave an average price tag of around $60.

Rough Manufacturing cost:

For the entire body suit a rough calculation using the prices for heat elements, energy source, fabric, sensors, software, and labor it would cost around $300 which is a five-fold higher price than what people are willing to pay for.

(2) Stress Meter:

This idea is also high feasible to realize into a realistic product and amazon also shows a similar product (stress thermometer). People are willing to pay around $27 for this product to help them with their stresses. Literature cites several reasons behind stress at the molecular levels and by accounting only basic biometrics such as body temperature, heart rate etc. we might not truly represent stress conditions.

Rough Manufacturing cost:

With the sensors, display, mounting plastic, labor etc. it would cost well under $50 to manufacture this product including the ECG electrode sensors.

(3) Vital Scarf:

I don't see any significant challenges in realizing this product with the availability of cheap sensors and display suitable for clothing. People were willing to pay around $15 for the vital scarf.

Rough Manufacturing cost:

With the sensors, display, fabric, labor etc. it would cost around $40 to manufacture this product which is more than twice the amount people are willing to pay.

(4) Ice Repeller:

The significant challenge with this idea is coming up with the chemical that can be transparent and repel frost in the windshield. Patent search yielded a similar product idea with a specific compound but there is no idea onto how much it would cost to make this liquid and fix the selling price for people can afford to pay. People were willing to pay around $35 a gallon.

Rough Manufacturing cost:

Without the idea of the actual chemicals it was quite difficult to do a manufacturing cost estimate for this product. But by looking at the patent listed in the above section, in reference to the chemicals used it would cost around $50 per gallon to make this magic liquid.

(5) Workout Office Chair:

This is also a very realistic idea as it simply has to incorporate sensors for physiological monitoring and the exercise unit into the chair. People were willing to pay around $200 for this product.

Rough Manufacturing cost:

With an average office chair costing around $200 adding the sensor system and workout unit does add to the price. The raw cost to make this unit with the steel, plastics, labor, sensors, cushion etc. will cost around $250.

Discussion & Inferences:

This assignment was rather a complete one that augmented all the tools and technique that was learned in class for transforming a product idea into a marketable and feasible product that has novelty. The survey research was extremely fun in drafting the questionnaire, collecting and analyzing the data and drawing inferences on the price and idea rating to choose the top 5 ideas to proceed. Adding pictures was extremely helpful with the survey outcome.

Bench marking although not straightforward I was able to identify state of the art products without much difficulty to contrast the price and features of my idea product by juxtaposing them. This was a valuable experience learned moving forward. Patent searching although cumbersome it was extremely fun and it helped to reconfirm that the product idea is still novel.

Analyzing the challenges for each idea was straightforward, but estimation of the manufacturing cost was somewhat difficult to incorporate current technologies and materials into the equation.

Overall, although a tiresome and lengthy assignment it was a more thorough and fun filled activity bridging the gap between academic learning of product design to help transform into an industrial product that can help desired users!

Assignment 5



Well, what I learned from all the 4 past assignments was that warming up before starting these assignments and getting an extra warm up dose when feeling stuck really helped me through these process. In those lines, I wanted to fresh myself up and hence watched a comedy show for an hour in my regional language Tamil. I really got into a jolly mood and was upbeat for this assignment.

PART - 1

Section - a Applying SCAMPER

Firstly, I chose a conventional Pedometer as shown below as my archetypical existing product that helps monitor and promote physical activity (such as walking) in a way to motivate increased physical activity during winter in relation to my second problem statement.

Archetypical Product - Ped Calorie Counter.jpg

I then applied the SCAMPER prompt questions and generated new ideas for this archetypical product.


For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

Nutrimeter, solar powered, measure whole body motion than just steps for calorie counts;

The following sketch portrays the best idea that could be realized into the product - NUTRIMETER which can input the calories that one consumed and tracks it with how much one burns based on his/her physical activity.



For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

Display Heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure. System to input food consumed and display calorie input and set goal for that day to remain healthy; GPS;

The following sketch portrays the best idea that could be realized into the product - VIVAMETER which can also display one's heart rate, respiration rate and blood pressure while being physically active. (VIVA = LIFE)



For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

Apps for smartphones that monitor calories, suggestions for nutritious and healthy food choices on the go, watch and bands that does similar function.

The following sketch portrays the best idea that could be realized into the product - NUTRICHOICE an application within this device that allows one to make healthy food choices based on his/her metabolism and how much calories have been burnt prior to his/her next food intake time. The best way to control weight is to eat only after prior food intake has been metabolized. One needs a good 3-4 hours gap in between food intakes and this device helps one to keep on track.



For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

Measure stress levels (stress meter) based on brain activity; blood glucose meter; body temperature; Display ECG and Respiration Signal (arrhythmias and respiratory disorder monitoring)

The following sketch portrays the best idea that could be realized into the product - VITALMETER which also displays ones Electrocardiogram (ECG) and Respiration Signal that also has the potential to diagnose arrhythmias and respiratory disorders.


Put to Other Use:

For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

Blood glucose meter; Display ECG and Respiration Signal (arrhythmias and respiratory disorder monitoring); Medication tracker; cycling tracker;

The following sketch portrays the best idea that could be realized into the product - GLUCOVITA which also measures and displays ones blood glucose level.



For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

No separate energy source - Solar powered; Energy transducer from the motion.

The following sketch portrays the best idea that could be realized into the product - U-POWER pedometer which functions from energy generated from ones' walking motion.

U Power.jpg


For this prompt following were some ideas that I generated:

Most pedometers don't have all the displays at once and have to change mode hence rearrange the display to show them all at once for easy access of information.

The following sketch portrays the above idea that could be realized into the product - OneStop Health Monitor that displays all vital information at once for quick access. Detailed version can be viewed by choosing specific ones.


Discussion: Applying SCAMPER for this pedometer was both difficult and easy. Especially the Reverse/Rearrange was the most challenging. However i feel that this has generated new concepts that can be added to this product to become the ultimate choice to guide ones physical activity not just in winter but also round the year!

Section - b Applying Table Based Tool

For this part of the assignment I decided to use the HIT matrix on the pedometer attributes against a sleepwear as shown below:


I had to pause for a while as I got stuck as to which product I should do this HIT matrix against pedometer. I decided to go with sleepwear after trying few different objects such as office chair, ice scraper, carry bag, utensils etc. I came up with 3 ideas that could be realized into actual products as below:


This powered winter suit keeps one warm and adjusts itself to ones body composure to keep him/her warm throughout the desired period.



This Life SHirt keeps track of ones heart rate, respiration rate and blood pressure on the go and keeps oneself informed about his/her vitals. The added feature also has the capacity to monitor the calories intake and calories burnt to help guide physical activity during winter and other times.



This powered boots can help people from slippery falls from smooth surfaces during winter by exploiting spike activated shoe base to provide more grip and also sprays salt once smooth surface is sensed to prevent from slipping.


Discussion: This section was little challenging in coming up with a product that can be crossed with pedometer to come up with useful ideas. But it was very interesting as I do realize that these tools can bring new avenues for product design and research that never would have been thought of!

PART - 2 HIGHLY RATED IDEAS for Product Realization

I reviewed all the different silly ideas that came up with the previous assignments and manipulated them so that they can indeed be realized into actual products:


These skii sticks becomes handy that it can be converted to a ice fishing rod on the go and easy to store.

Convertible Skii Sticks.jpg


This scarf not only protects you from cold but also keeps track of your vital signs to keep you intact!

Vital Scarf.jpg


These boots have motion sensors and transducer that generates power to exploit the spikes and spray salt when slippery and icy surface is sensed.



This liquid helps protect ones vehicle and any material from trapping snow as it repels it.

Ice Repeller.jpg


This App helps one to make healthy food choices based on his/her metabolism, previous food intakes, eating habits etc and provides advice and suggestion to what to consume to be on a healthy track with a fixed goal.

NutriProfile App.jpg


This powered shovel helps to keep oneself warm while using electrical power to shovel the snow with ease.

Power Shovel.jpg


Are you worried about eating more junk food while stressed especially during winter? Try this new stress meter that helps evaluate your stress and helps you make healthy choice during particular levels of your stress and keep away from junk food.


(8) Ultimate Weather Watch:

This watch not only tells your time but also current weather and has interwoven heating elements that adjusted the heat to keep yourself warm during winter.

Ultimate Weather Watch.jpg


The game changer is here! Burn calories while you make money in office. This gentle calorie burning office chair not only offers the comfort of any conventional office hair but makes you really WORK out with the soft pedals, vital signs monitoring and cool air at your disposal when feeling hot!

Workout Office Chair.jpg


How about you having a calorie watch that gets your input on how much calories you consumed and it gives you a feedback on much you are burning?

Calorie Watch.jpg


This assignment was really fun as I learned new approaches for idea generation for new products and was able to apply few techniques towards the winter diet theme. I should admit that few prompt questions in the SCAMPER were difficult to realize and also coming up with a product for crossing with pedometer for HIT matrix was challenging.

I am pretty sure that now I am with a different mindset for coming up with new ideas for product design prior to doing these assignments. way to go!

Assignment 4



As a first step, I converted my 2 problem statements based on my two personas into "How Might We" questions as below:

(1) Jill a 25 years old young woman needs a way to motivate herself towards more nutritious and healthy winter diet because she is very health conscious and worries about the weight gain due to heavy meat and junk food consumption during winter.

How might we motivate people towards healthy food consumption in winter?

(2) Samuel, a 35 years old man needs a way to increase physical activity and consume more water than beverages during winter because he doesn't want to compromise on his usual heavy dose of winter junk food which he really relishes.

How might we motivate people towards increased physical activity in winter?

Right off the bat, we can quickly realize that these are the research questions of biggest concerns in public health domain in the entire world and lots of health based companies have been struggling to come up with product ideas or even solutions that can motivate people towards healthy food and physical activity in general and especially in winter. In that note, I decided to facilitate this brainstorming session with 5 people in Mayo Clinic Campus who are mostly my colleagues. They are Arvin Arani (Medical Physicist), Bogdan Dzuybak (BME PhD Student), Matylda Mazur (Physician Resident), Shi Yu (Radiology Fellow) and Soudabeh Kargar (BME PhD Student) as seen below during action.

Group  Names.jpg

I made PowerPoint slides to guide me through the brainstorming session as shown below.

PDES 5701_Brainstorming_WinterDiet.pptx

I made sure of important points to note such as IPM, to keep them active etc. to facilitate the session. I also planned to critique my facilitation after the session was over to gauge my level being the first time so that I can improve on myself as I indeed want to be a new medical device product design engineer/physician for my career as these skills are very handy, no doubts!


Ever since the assignment for brainstorming was announced I was nervous as to how to get people as I had hard time to get 3 people for interview as Mayo Clinic campus where I work have extremely busy people and neighbors next door in my apartment are mostly introverts and never see them. I then pessimistically approached my colleagues in my Radiology department in Mayo Clinic and somehow I managed to convince 5 of them conditionally if hot pizzas were offered. Here we go! Since the session time was decided to be 1-2.30 pm on Saturday I thought it was a fair game to feed them with pizzas and energize them to harvest their ideas. The first few minutes we spent time chatting and eating. Then I started with our usual ZIP-ZAP-ZOP warm up as I didn't want to scare them away with my new warm up game "The Aeii Oii Challenger Game". They were all super excited after the zip zap zop game and I really didn't want to distract that attention. But I tried my new game and believe me or not they hated me! Just like zip zap zop game I thought starting with Aeii in low tone and pointing to someone, that person increases the tone/pitch of Aeiiiiiii and points to other who increases further and the cycle goes until it ends with Hmmm. I tried it myself before implementing it wasn't bad but for some reason they didn't like it. I have it videotaped so that I could get a feel on how that went to improve later on. After these warm ups I showed the problem question and asked them to come up with product ideas and thoughts for 15 min. I repeated the same for the second problem.

Here is the snapshot of the ideas on the white board!

Ideas on Board.JPG

As I skimmed through the ideas I realized the mistake I made. I shouldn't have put the Jill and Samuel personas on the slides as they were focusing on them alone and had merely lots of suggestions and advice rather than product ideas to help with their problem. I consider it as a huge blunder as a facilitator, but the reason I did that way was due to inspiration from people in Logic Product Design group who did brainstorming by having us generating ideas for snowmobile. I thought of imitating them and ended up here. However, I was able to hand pick 10 of them 5 from each group. Almost all of their ideas did not have sketches and title. I ran into this problem and was stuck but acted on it soon. Since they were all hard workers they all were here on Sunday afternoon for their usual weekend work. I went with my hand picked ideas and got them straightened to some extent. We did sort them and categorize those ideas.

For the problem how might we motivate people towards increased physical activity in winter, here are some ideas I picked:

(1) Do you want to look yourself fit, pretty and healthy? Don't worry this is how you will look with our "Virtual Best fit Personality". Get it and feel it! - Shi Yu


(2) Sorry, really sorry. We are really really sorry. We make this most beautiful dress only with this size (waist, chest etc but different heights possible). Don't you wish your physique fits it? - Matylda Mazur


(3) How about you workout while you do your office work? No kidding! - Arvin Arani


(4) Stop! Stop! Stop! Dont' eat! This is what this device (Calorie Meter) says when you exceed your set limit of calories - Shi Yu


(5) Oh well, how about you get paid while you work out by generating electricity? "Group Exercise Power Factory " - Soudabeh Kargar


For the problem how might we motivate people towards healthy food in winter, here are some ideas I picked:

(6) Hey! Hey! I am watching you eat! Hey! Hey! I am watching you move! How does it sound to you when we declare the launching of an app that becomes your "Mobile Monitor" saying the above? -- Matylda Mazur


(7) Are you tired of being Junkophilic? You can't resist yourself dumping junk foods into your fridge? Here is our new "Junk Monitor" that trashes your junk food in your fridge - Shi Yu


(8) Stress, stress stress! Is junk food calling you when being stressed out? Try our "Stress Meter" that provides alternative health food options based on your stress level!
- Shi Yu


(9) Do you need someone behind you to keep track of your nutrition? Here is your buddy "Nutrimeter" that plays out your nutrition profile everyday! - Matylda Mazur


(10) Out of options for healthy food choice? Don't worry, we will ship you the health diet you need at your door steps! - Arvin Arani


I kept track of the IPM every 10 min and the overall IPM for the group was 0.587 (with 88 ideas, 5 people in group and 30 min of idea generation). Also after the session was over I asked them to rate me on my facilitation skill with 0 being the worst and 5 being extraordinary. All of them voted me with a 3. I was very excited as it was my first time leading brainstorming session. They had lots of suggestions for me to engage them better with the activity, better improv warm up games etc.

Experience and feedback:

Overall, this assignment was a fun filled activity. I had lots to learn from mistakes which could have duly improved the session. While one can admit that solving winter diet and physical activity problem is more of a challenging problem to solve, I can safely say that I did have fun exploring this topic. One thing I learned was that, it would have been way better if I had the session with people whom I don't know. Lots of time they got carried away from idea generation and although I attempted to keep them track I was not very successful. I asked them to do some sketching with a title for each idea and barely had one that met both request. I am sure I am pretty much ready to lead a brainstorming session with a list of do's and don'ts for myself to have a qualitative and quantitative fun filled session!

Assignment 3


Ethnography on WINTER DIET

Hailing from India, especially from the south (Chennai) which is closer to the equator we are used to the heavy dose of warm temperatures coupled with at least 70% humidity and not to forget the tainting of dust and pollution. The whole concept of winter, diet and everything that spins around it is a huge experience on the other side of the spectrum even after decade long living in South Dakota and Minnesota where we get to experience -35 Degree C.

When we think about what happens between November and March especially with food and diet apart from other health concerns such as from flu, winter accidents, falls etc. once has very few concepts to think about. In that regards ethnography is an excellent research tool where one gets a feel of peoples experiences and thoughts regarding winter diet. I have to admit that this topic is somewhat difficult to explore in short time and more of a "hot research topic" that the world would like to explore and learn more about it.

In general when I think of winter diet I can't hesitate to think why the snowman are always shown Fat. Does it imply something?

Fat Snowman.gif

Hmm, may be he should consult an nutritionist and a physician so he is intact from November-March.

Snowman Doctor Visit.gif

For this assignment the recommendations to perform ethnographic research are ASK, OBSERVE and EXPERIENCE by setting and engaging in activities related to winter diet. Unfortunately, it was quite difficult for me to observe people and also engage in activities in regards to winter diet given the limited time. As suggested, I did some literature review to study the annual consumption figures for vegetables and meat throughout the year to get an idea on whether or not there is a significant difference during winter. There wasn't any article that pins down this information. However, i was able to come to a consensus that on an average fresh vegetable consumption in general is slightly lower during winter and people tend towards frozen vegetables if they wish to have vegetables. Meat is readily available throughout the year and it is mainly peoples life style behavior that they tend to consume more meat between Nov-March period. However, I was very confidant that by asking people their experiences about winter diet, I could narrow down a problem area that would need improvement or change.

I interviewed 3 people a Post-Doc (Medical Physicist), MD doctor (Radiologist) and a Graduate Student (Biomedical Engineering) in the Mayo Clinic campus. I had a semi structured interview questionnaire that I wanted to hit to get the maximum out of the few minutes I had with them. All of them were mainly open ended questions to share their experiences about the main areas of eating habits and food choices. I was able to audio record the interviews for my future references, but they did request not to publish for common access.

The post-Doc was originally from Canada and I was very excited to learn more about winter diet experiences he had through the years. When asked about winter eating habits he said that there isn't much difference except that lots of candies and sweets gets consumed a lot during the winter holidays. Also meat consumption is increased especially turkey and beef. He particularly liked to avoid frozen vegetables and also fresh vegetables during winter just simply because they are cold and turn towards more meat. Warm beverages are preferred more which subsequently reduce water consumption. Overall, he concluded saying that people tend to eat lots and lots of food than usual during winter which is worsened by the winter holidays where people tend to eat extra and more sugary products that totally blows out the winter nutrition out of control.

The Radiologist was from Northern China who has immense experience living through harsh winters and enjoyed sharing her experience for this assignment. She said they consume more amount of lamb, beef and cabbage which helps them generate more heat to keep themselves warm. Additionally more apples, dumplings and hazel nuts are the their choices during winter which are less common during other period of time. As expected the quantity of food consumed increases a lot with more frequent consumption throughout the day. She also mentioned that consuming vegetables decline significantly and people people shy away from raw vegetables significantly and tend to depend on long cooked food which is also very hot to keep themselves warm.

The graduate student had more things to complain about food in general as he lives alone mostly cooking for self and then depending on fats food restaurants throughout the year. Especially winter makes it worse for him as he has less choice of vegetables that he likes to consume. Unfortunately he says there is a tendency to eat lots and lots of candies during the winter holidays and his integral complaint about winter diet is "people tend to eat more than what they want and also need". He is rather health conscious and tends to burn his extra calories in winter with extra dose of exercise and tends to keep himself fit and doesn't really worry or have any concerns whatsoever about winter diet.

Opportunites /Problem areas:

By talking to these people it is very clear that "Extra food is consumed in particular unhealthy during winter" mostly to comfort themselves to battle the cold by generating heat. The choice of the food is mainly dependent on what they like during winter and also believe that it would help them with winter. Both water consumption and fresh vegetables are severely compromised which are most needed to keep the body going. Physical activity is also proportionately reduced that adds to the complexity of winter health issues. There is no speculation that an easy advice one can give regarding winter diet is " PLEASE stay away from anything that tastes good". Is it even possible? How can you forget that turkey during thanks giving? The beef? The candies? All those holiday parties?

Here is my Persona that came out of this interview. Jill is a 25 years old young lady who really wants to focus on vegetable heavy winter food but in actuality and reality the beefs, turkey and candies doesn't let her alone!

Persona Jill.jpg


(1) Jill a 25 years old young woman needs a way to motivate herself towards more vegetable oriented winter diet because she is very health conscious and worries about the weight gain in winter due to heavy meat and junk food consumption during winter.

(2) Samuel, a 35 years old man needs a way to increase physical activity and consume more water than beverages during winter because he doesn't want to compromise on his usual heavy dose of winter junk food which he really relishes.

The Journey:

This assignment is one of my favorite so far as it is indeed a research problem that needs due attention. Being an Asian Indian especially from south, there is no category such as winter diet as pretty much throughout the year we follow same eating habits and food choices except on occasions of festivals which at least two show up each month, one gets the extra dose of food of course mostly unhealthy. However when I think of Jill, I do come to a consensus that winter diet is indeed a pivotal issue that people do realize its impact but often care less about it and just enjoy their winter food and holidays.



Humor in Design

Part 1:

I love Tom and Jerry cartoon and I relished an hour watching various episodes. I also watched some comedy shows from my regional language and got into an ultimate playful and joyous mood and was totally ready for the mind map.

Part 2:

I wrote down various themes for WINTER in my design notebook and came up with 12 categories such as Transportation, fun, comfort, food, clothing, shopping, holidays, sports, health, animals. outing and weather. The resulting mind map that I tried to bridge together these various themes is shown below.

Mind Map WINTER.jpg

Part 3:

For the next part of my assignment I came up with these 10 fun products by merging various themes such as food, transportation, sports, clothing etc. The sub-themes from the mind map that drew my attention were skiing, hot drinks (lattae, coffee, tea),snow shoveling, ice fishing, skating, etc.

1: Antifreeze Lattae

I hope you buy these in huge gallons and stock them up in your vehicle as it is multipurpose! Go STARBUCKS!

Antifreeze lattae.jpg

2: Electro boots:

Generate electricity with these boots as you walk. No more searching for charging your batteries!

Electro Boots.jpg

3: Vital Scarf

Get to know your heart rate (HR), respiration rate (RR) and body temperature with this vital scarf or jacket on the move! Your portable health comfort!

Vital Scarf.jpg

4: One Stop Igloo Mall:

Tired of driving around snow to various places in winter, just shovel for 30 min per week (volunteer for snow removal around the mall) and get exclusive membership to this one stop Igloo mall!

Igloo Mall.jpg

5: WWT - Belt

Are you tired of bad weather predictions? Did they say it is going to be sunny but it snows often? No worries, have this Winter Waist Tire(chain) - Belt. Get the tires ready for the snow haul!

WWt Belt.jpg


Oh yes! Don't you worry about who hit you first! Here I am - your dynamic snow man watching you! Free yourself from wrong and false insurance claims and 24 hours protection and guidance from this GPS snow man!


7: Ultimate Weather Watch

Want to get real time weather updates, auto control of your surface body temperature in winter? Here is your solar powered watch with interwoven heat strings that can keep you rock and rolling in winter!

Ultimate Weather Watch.jpg

8:Convertible skii sticks

No more hassle to have your ice fishing rod. This convertible skii sticks does it for you!

Convertible Skii Sticks.jpg

9: Hybrid Snow Engine

Yes believe it! Get your mileage with more snow you collect!

Hybrid Snow Engine.jpg

10: EEG Monkey Cap

Don't you wish your thoughts shovel the snow for you?

EEG Monkey Cap.jpg


This assignment was very fun and also at the same time somewhat challenging. While I do not claim that these fun products are realistic I do believe that few of them do have potential to be useful products within our lifetime. I sat several hours stuck without getting ideas for these products, in those moments I did not hesitate to get extra dose of comedy to lighten my brain up and it really helped.

Assignment 1

Multigrain Ginger Cookie


All-purpose flour - 1 cup
100% wheat flour - ¼ cup
Ragi flour - ¼ cup
Barley - 4 tea spoons
Oats - 4 tea spoons
Sugar - 1 cup
Cracked Almonds - 10 pieces or more
Dry Ginger crushed - 4 tea spoons
Butter - 4 Oz
Egg - 1
Baking Powder - ½ tea spoon
Cinnamon oil flavor


The raw ingredients are shown below:
Raw Ingredients.jpg
The dry ginger was crushed and the almonds were cracked in a blender. Firstly, the Butter was mixed with the egg, sugar, the cinnamon oil and then blended to perfection. All other ingredients were then mixed and kept separately as we refer to as multigrain flour mixture as shown below:
Flour Mix.JPG
The flour mixture is added 2 tea spoons at a time as the butter mix was blended with a hand mixer until all the contents are blended to a nice consistency. The flour is then rolled out between parchment sheets and the desired shape for the cookie can now be made using a suitable shaper, in this case the shape is chosen to be circular for simplicity as shown below.
Blended and Rolled Mix.JPG
The excess flour was removed and any shape adjustment and decoration for the cookie can be made as shown in below:
Raw Cookie.JPG
The samples were now baked in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes and the cookies are ready to relish as shown below:

Multigrain Ginger Cookie.JPG


Cookies in general are considered a time pass snack which often ends up also being an unhealthy choice. The major focus of innovation for this new product is to provide an option for a healthy choice and hence this multigrain ginger cookie focus less on the size, shape and looks. The multigrain with the combination of dry ginger and almonds offer to be the best combination for a healthy choice cookie. The cinnamon flavor then makes one want this cookie for many reasons.

The cookie making experience:

When this assignment was announced for making a new cookie, I had gazillions of thoughts plummeting through my mind. Coming from India there is no scarcity for trying new food products on various combinations of ingredients yet make it attractive and healthy.

But to be more realistic, I wanted to focus less on the look, size and shape of the cookie rather try out new ingredients that hasn't been tried out for cookie. Immediately I was flooded with ideas to use multiple grain varieties for the flour mix. Although, all-purpose flour is the common base, I wanted to try Ragi flour (a kind of millet which is a very healthy choice against all purpose flour). By adding oats, barley and wheat I intend to add better nutritional value to the cookie. Secondly, I wanted to try out another ingredient which is also less common for cookies which is dry ginger. The benefits of ginger need not be reiterated. My hypothesis was that this new combination of flour mix and ginger base will give a healthy yet tasty cookies as a great alternative for conventional time pass cookies.

This product line " Multigrain Ginger Cookie " can be safely claimed as an incremental product with new ingredients since the procedure to make follows conventional cookie baking process.

Having decided to use multiple ingredients the challenge to come up with a near optimal ratio was a big challenge. Also, I did not want to totally compromise on the all purpose flour since I had no idea how the cookie will taste with mere Ragi flour. So, I consider the finalized ratio of ingredients for this Multigrain Ginger cookie as a Work In Progress towards an optimal ratio with strong inclinations to reduce the all purpose flour and increase the ragi flour. I came up with this ratio not by random but based on my intuition of how much of each material I need in my cookie which by no means is the optimal ratio for better taste with the same materials.

On the other hand mixing them and baking was a very straightforward process. Once ready, I wanted to get a feel of how these cookies tasted like, which by appearance I have to admit that it is not attractive to a sense of any novelty. But I gave some samples to my family members and my neighbor. All of them felt that it was a new combination for a cookie and they did feel a slight dose of ginger and the cinnamon flavor made it alluring.

On the whole I feel that this cookie is novel, feasible with great value and I am sure people who try it will help me prove my hypothesis!

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