PSFK talks to Ji Lee about his Diet Scale project.
Ji Lee, creative director at Google Creative Lab, designed the Diet Scale years ago in school, but the project is picking up significant attention due to growing need for a tool like this in today’s health culture. The Diet Scale does not merely reveal the weight of the user, but gets more involved by suggesting a specific diet to follow. The Diet Scale intimately interacts with its users by replacing numerals with meal recommendations.
We talked with Ji about his invention:
Tell us about the project of the Diet Scale and any developments since.
“This started as a student project several years ago. The assignment was to redesign a menu. I took a radical approach and ended up making a menu out of weight scale. This project was shown in my website and for several years no one seemed to pay attention to it until a few month ago, I started receiving emails from people who have seen the image on the web. Somehow it went viral online and there were a lot of interest about the diet scale suddenly. I’m looking for a manufacturer who’s willing to make this into a product. I haven’t found the right collaborator yet.”
We’re talking today because we want to understand trends at the intersection of health and technology. How your project is related with these concepts?
“What I did was to re-appropriate an existing familiar object and turn it into something else. It’s an unexpected mashup of two very different things. Usually menus are something static and set, the diet scale, brings an element of interactivity and fun. It’s a very simple technology – the scale – that has existed for centuries and all it took was to look at it a little differently and suddenly it becomes something fun and new.”
As a focus to the project – we are looking to aid UNICEF and likeminded organizations with new ideas. UNICEF’s work involves remote healthworkers. How could your project or a similar one be developed to support such work.
“Originally, I didn’t design this with grand plans in mind. It was more of a fun experiment. One thought of how this can be helpful for UNICEF’s work is to develop inexpensive scales with interchangeable menus according to one’s weight and diet needs. Instead of following a static printed menu, I believe someone who’s on a diet will see this as an interactive challenge. It visualizes immediately the dieter’s progress in an interactive way.”
Over the next few weeks, PSFK is running a trends research and innovation project in association with UNICEF. We will be researching (with your help) the development of key trends that impact health and well being and then using our findings to develop with partners concepts that UNICEF and likeminded organizations could consider deploying across the world.
Find out more here: PSFK presents the Future of Heath in association with UNICEF