The Automated Spicer: Nintendo Labo interactive cardboard project.         —          Industrial Design, Interaction Design          —          Winter 2017          —          Design 166

The Automated Spicer


A machine learning tool to help amateur cooks season their spices accurately and precisely.

The Challenge

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To use no more than three pieces cut from a 18 in. x 24 in. sheet of E-flute cardboard to create a functional interactive device. The cardboard cannot be glued, laser-cut, or decorated in any way with other materials.

This device should use the unique technological capabilities of the smartphone to perform a specialized task that "benefits the in-home kitchen experience".

My Approach


Target User

I wanted to make a device that benefits the amateur cook. Busy workers and college students, don't have the time to cook elaborate dishes and often aren't as careful with how they season their dish.



I wanted to create a device that was aesthetically unique, cleanly cut, and engaging to interact with as well. I spent a large portion of my time brainstorming, sketching, and then building the product mentally (folding it up in my head) to ensure that all the components and locks theoretically functioned. At the point in the process, I gave great consideration into how economical the product would be if printed on a 18 x 24 sheet of cardboard. I wanted to utilize the space efficiently so that if the product were to be manufactured, cardboard leftovers would be minimal. 


After I began to build the product, I underwent multiple iterations refining and perfecting the folds and scores to ensure a structurally stable device.

My Solution


The automated spicer uses object recognition, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and vibration capabilities to help amateur cooks control the spice portions in their food. Structurally, the device is a triangular polyhedron constructed with a unified form language, utilizing a J-hook mechanism and elongated lock-tab for structural strength.

The spicer integrates technological capabilities of the phone with the cardboard harmoniously by using phone vibration, and duration thereof, to control the amount of spice dispensed. Artificial intelligence coupled with machine learning actively prompts the user throughout the experience, learning and adapting to the spice preferences of the user.

Amateur cooks often disproportionately spice their foods, leading to undesirable flavors. The automated spicer offers a pleasing and interactive solution to this problem; one that is not just simply aesthetically resolved, but also fundamentally customizable, catering toward the user's tendencies over time.

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Diagram & Storyboard

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Final Design

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