Dabba

What if there was a collaboration between human and machine in the smart home?

Dabba is a smart home product-service system designed to share the labour of cooking. Instead of following the trend of outsourcing the labour, which leads to more (unwanted) labour [1], Dabba focuses on a collaboration between the user and the smart home technology. In order to find the right balance of collaboration, Dabba offers 3 different steps, where the user is either involved in the labour or not at all.

The first step of Dabba is that Dabba obtains data on food and cooking trends from your television history and browser history. Based on this data, Dabba decides what you are going to eat and orders the groceries. The second step of Dabba is that the groceries are delivered to your door as a meal box and the artefact of Dabba ensures that all the spices are in place for you to cook. The last step is the step where the real collaboration on the labour happens. Following the selected recipe, the user can start to cook. During the cooking process, Dabba will light up the spices which go well with the recipe in the correct order of adding. Using the utensils, the user can choose how much of a certain spice they would like to add. Furthermore, they are free to add other spices or ignore the advice of Dabba. Enhancing the ritual value of the artefact, the user can turn Dabba towards them to review the spices up close.

Dabba was used as a research product which asked the following question: what if there was a collaboration between human and machine in the smart home? The research conducted with Dabba has generated insights in where the balance on collaboration should be, what the task division should be, that people value not having to think, and that the relationship between human and machine is at a first glance very one sided: people initially don’t want to take care of the device.


  • Team Hans Brombacher | Frederique de Jongh | Rosa van Koningsbruggen
  • [1] Strengers, Y., & Nicholls, L. (2017). Convenience and energy consumption in the smart home of the future: Industry visions from Australia and beyond. Energy Research & Social Science, 32, 86-93.
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