Lidro

A fruit wine brewing product that provides a time-saving, customizable and controllable brewing experience for home-made lovers.

CONTEXT  
Senior Project & Intern Teamwork

SPONSORED BY
Taotaosou, China

ROLE
Project Manager & Designer

TIMELINE
13 months (May 2015-Jun.2016)

TEAM
Qiang Zhang (electronic engineer)
Gang Chen (mechanical engineer)
Xiaoqun Chen (winemaker)
Zishuo Fang (Industrial designer)

CONTRIBUTION
Project Management,
Industrial Design,
Brewing Experiment,
User Research/Testing

What I learned?

1) The paper prototype is super helpful to communicate with engineers and convey ideas as well as conduct testings.

2) In order to understand and relate to users, I learned how to brew fruit wine!!

3) Make design judgment from a more holistic perspective, such as using Harris Profile method to make decisions.

4) Physical product design has a lot of constraints. It requires designer's patience to conquer endless challenges by learning and exploring actively within a team.

Challenge

Design a fruit wine brewing product for lovers of home-made wine, especially busy working people.

I did this project as a project manager intern at Taotaosou, one of the largest e-business companies in China. This was the beginning of an 390-day’s amazing journey with fruit wine and engineers.

Problem

Home-brewing was troublesome.

"It has too many steps and is very time-consuming. So sometimes we would rather better buy wine instead of brewing manually."

Working people have no time to learn professional skills.

"It is hard for me to keep bacteria or temperature in control in order to produce tasty wine. I just don't have time to learn all the technics."

Brewing products now are just barrels.

"All they can do is to keep the temperature stable for fermenting. I can't choose the fruit I want or change the wine's flavor."

Opportunity

How to design a light brewing experience for high quality homemade fruit wine?

Before: Complicated Brewing Experience 

For now, homemade brewers spend at least one month to go through 9 complicated brewing phases with a high learning cost, including crushing fruit, cleaning container, weighing and adding sugar, activating yeast, controlling temperature, fermenting, filtering and bottling.

Now: A New Brewing Experience

Our goal is to design a light brewing experience which requires very few user operations and produces high quality and healthy wine, as well as gives users multiple fruit and flavor choices.

Solution

A smart home-brewing product provides time-saving, customizable and controllable brewing experience.

 FEATURE 1
An end-to-end product to save user's time

Lidro will cover all the complicated brewing processes from disinfection to filtering, requiring only a few manual operations. The fermentation monitor will monitor temperature, alcohol, and sugar and give users feedback.

 FEATURE 2
Ingredient set to improve wine quality

An ingredient set contains sugar, yeast, liqueur and brewing additives which help the fermentation and reduce bacteria.

 FEATURE 3
Multiple fruit wine choices to lower the learning cost

Allowing users to choice different fruit, sweetness without knowing the huge brewing technique differences behind.

Research 

MARKET RESEARCH

There is no specialized product for home-made fruit wine.

We first conducted a competitor research on fruit-brewing product market and we found that no machine special for home-made fruit wine was available in the market. Instead, brewing was only one of the functions of some yogurt machines and some product available now only provided one or two affiliated functions of brewing, such as ferment.

INTERVIEW & WINERY EXPERIMENT

Liqueur is a possible solution to improve the uncontrolled home-brewing process.

In order to deeply understand user experience, I learned brewing from scratch by consulting brewing lovers and searching literature. Then I conducted three months' fruit wine brewing experiment with 8 different kind of fruit. However, I got stuck in the experiment for lacking specialized guidance. So I spent a month in a winery to study brewing knowledge and discovered that Liqueur was a proper solution to address the bacteria problem and uncontrolled process.

Why Paper prototype?
It helped me to communicate with engineers more efficiently.

Design

PROCESS DESIGN

How to cover all the complicated processes?

Based on the knowledge I get from winery and experiment and cooperating with winemaker, I combined the liqueur brewing technic into fruit wine and designed a standard brewing process. In order to cover the whole brewing process, we designed two separate rooms, one for fermentation, the other one for collecting data. 

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

Validate and compare designs options.

After sketching, I had three different options. While using paper model to test the user experience of designs, I also use Harris Profile method to make design choices by scoring them according to the feasibility of operation, production, cost, transport and shape.

Plan 1: "The structure is too weak to stand on its own."

Plan 2: "The lid should be bigger to contain the motor."

Why chose plan 3?
1. 8 different kinds of fruit  with different temperatures, sugar contents, time, and process.

Plan 3: "we can adopt the structure this and give it more space for two fermentation room."

Implementation

MACHINERY MODEL & ELECTRONICS

We picked up one solution by hundreds of experiments.

Mechanical engineer used UG for further prototype. I was responsible for arranging group review meeting every week to assure the accuracy of design details.

PROTOTYPE TEST

The volume is bigger than expected because we can't find small motor.

The second prototype has achieved the abilities of most functions, to name a few, pump, filter, heat preservation. But for other aspects, such as sealing and sensor accuracy, we are still working on them.

EXHIBITION

Though there is still a huge gap between prototype and mass production, we explored a new possibility .

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