The internet has given us so many wonderful things, but with progress comes conflict. A minor problem I've come across is the constant dirtying of devices when referring back to recipes cooking. We sought out a fluid, conversational solution using the Amazon Echo and Alexa.
Alexa Skills Kit
We created an interactive application that will walk the baker/chef through step-by-step instructions with the ability to ask for clarification between steps.
User: Alexa, open PopChef.
Alexa: Okay, Welcome to PopChef, the application that lets you cook like Gordon Ramsey. What would you like to make today?
User: I want to make a blueberry pie.
Alexa: Okay, Blueberry Pie. Would you like to hear about the ingredients or instructions?
Alexa: Okay (lists ingredients). Would you like to hear the list again or are you ready to start the recipe?
Alexa: Okay! Step One....
User: Next Step
Alexa: Step Two...
User: Alexa, can you repeat that?
Alexa: Sure, step two...
This interface worked well for the bakers in our group since we aren't able to progress past a step until we've completed that line of conversation. It has some bugs and it will take some time to find the best way to enable perfect conversations so this is an ongoing project.
We reached this portion of the Skill pretty early on in the Hackathon so we discussed ways to make it stand out from the other applications in other ways. The other designer pitched a TV based recipe guide and we got started!
Wants to have step-by-step instructions while baking
Needs a way to a refer back to ingredients while in the middle of the recipe.
Tends to forget precise ingredient measurements while in the middle of things.
Likes to watch TV while baking and has to constantly switch back and forth between her programs and the recipe dirtying her device.
26 - Seattle, WA
Designer and Casual Baker
I've already ruined one keyboard after an incident involving some errant flour, I wish I had an assistant sometimes!
The most popular skill still needed to display the recipe on your phone which defeats it's purpose.
To start, we checked out competing recipe skills in the Alexa marketplace. According to reviews, they were all missing key functionality such as:
Armed with this information, we set out to create a superior skill.
Most applications read off recipes at a rapid fire rate that no one could possibly use.
Most skills have issues with timing out when the users don't interact quickly. The main issue on that end has to do with returning to their previous spot in the recipe.
TV Based Recipes
Recipes will be manually uploaded with featured recipes added on strategic days.
New Featured Recipes
When activating the PopChef app, a customized greeting will play alerting the user.
Network TV connections
If we build an improved skill, we may be able to partner with cookbook writers or networks to create a paid product.
I'm working to create a fully fleshed out skill to release to the marketplace. After it's complete, I'll work on developing a speacilized skill based on TV meals.