Cultural Probe: Design and Findings – Chia Li Hui

Design probe (concept):

In the first documentation, I approached a practitioner that was making homemade snow skin mooncakes. To facilitate the kneading process, I came out with the design below. It is actually an automated heat-resistant machine hand that is used to mix the food colouring with the dough. This will avoid the dough to become sticky due to the heat transfer from your bare hands. Also, there is a switch that allows you to set the machine hand into automatic mode and the glove will knead the dough on its own. You can also control the speed of the kneading. Lastly, the height of the stand is adjustable. This will allow the glove to be set at a height that the practitioner is comfortable with. The whole purpose of this glove is to reduce the work of kneading and to refrain the dough from becoming too soft and sticky.

Instructions:

  1. Based on what you see, determine how it can help in your mooncake making process.

First person:

First thoughts:

  • Automated hand-shaped kneading tool
  • Adjustable height
  • Different levels of kneading speed
  • Heat resistant to prevent dough from becoming too sticky

Pros:

  • Reduce the amount of work needed to knead the dough
  • As many newbies face the problem of the dough becoming too sticky due to body heat, the heat resistant tool helps them a lot

Cons:

  • May not be able to get the preferred dough consistency as compared to kneading with real hands
  • Don’t think that it is possible to wash it since it is an electronic appliance -> Hygiene issues

Questions:

  • Will be battery operated or does it require the appliance to be plugged into a power socket? Personally, I think battery operated would be better as the cables that connect to the power socket may get tangled up with the tool.

Second Person:

First thoughts:

  • Is a glove that requires users to put their hands inside
  • The glove can help control the temperature when kneading

Pros:

  • It helps the user a lot as there is no need for him/her to use his/her muscles when kneading the dough

Cons:

  • Usually when you touch the dough, you should know when it is ready. However, this is automated, so you will not be able to feel the dough. Therefore, you do not know when will the dough be ready.

Suggestions:

  • The automated hand should be bigger so that it can knead even faster.

Third Person (Original Practitioner):

First thoughts:

  • At first glance, she does not know how to use it in her practice.
  • User fiddled with it for a while before asking what the purpose of it is.

Pros:

  • If it works well as what it assumes to be, it will save a lot of time and energy in the preparation process.

Cons:

  • Kneading is not just one fixed motion; The dough may not mix well if it is automated.
  • The machine can’t tell you whether it is sticky enough or not, it still requires manual work in testing it.

Questions:

  • Is there other way to set more motions? Kneading also includes squeezing and massaging the dough, is there a way to set the automated hand to do them as well?
  • Do you pre-set the time for the automated hand to work? Is there like a timer?

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