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Novina: Inclusive Smart Kitchen

by Jingyi Li


Technological innovations have made life easier for many. However, others with comparatively lower digital competence and capabilities limitations have disabilities thrust upon them by inconsiderate and inadequate design. To address the issue of digital exclusion, project Novina is aimed at investigating exclusions in smart kitchens, and speculating a futuristic solution to enable users with different levels of digital skills and capabilities to cook with less effort.


Novina provides users with a mid-air gesture interface that integrates all the interfaces on our kitchen appliances and a redesigned cupboard area which has a movable inner layer also controlled by the gesture interface. With simple and intuitive gestures like air tap, drag and move up on a near-body mid-air interface, users can interact with all of their kitchen appliances and move the inner layer of the cupboard to the desired position when needing to get a plate.


Gesture interactions in the Novina system were designed according to behavioral insights on interaction metaphors acquired from experiments. Direct manipulation and World-in-hand spatial navigation are the two metaphors that proved to be intuitive and inclusive in a kitchen setting, which can significantly cut down cognitive loads and interaction burden.


The interactive prototype of Novina was tested with a Leap Motion gesture controller. With the development of immersive technologies, for example, Mixed reality, and ambient technologies in smart homes, Novina has the potential to be brought to life in our future kitchens and to offer inclusive solutions for many other scenarios where people have situational capability limitations (e.g. doctors in the operating rooms).


See LIVE at the Royal College of Art WiP 2021