Jacob Waites

I design, prototype, and build brands and interactions full of expressive type, fun motion, bold colors, and minimal line-work. Sometimes I write and speak about design. My craft is the way I speak to the world, I work to help others find their voice and make them successful.

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Food + Future CoLab

Food + Future CoLab was a collaboration between IDEO, Target, and MIT Media Lab focused on creating better understanding around our food systems using emerging technologies like AR, AI, blockchain, and Spectroscopy.

When I first joined IDEO, I came to work at Food + Future CoLab. The Lab was a place where we created many different prototypes of concept businesses, technologies, and services in partnership with Target and MIT Media Lab. One of our most notable brands to make it out of the lab is Target's organic food brand, Good + Gather.

During my time at F+F, I focused on building out many different concepts, all focused on food science and technology. My main focus was a project called Illuminate, a concept that used spectroscopy and light data readings to learn more about fresh foods on the spot. Applications for this technology include authentication and fact checking of real foods, tracking how certain foods affect our microbiome, and to studio how foods degenerate over-time according to seasonality.

I also worked on other concepts such as a fresh food inventory match-making system, a farm land share service, a microbiome tracker called EatWell, a brand for identifying fisherman to table fish, and an augmented reality interface for Illuminate data.

Illuminate at SXSL

Pickl and Illuminate made their debut publicly at South by South Lawn, a future innovation event at the White House. F+F had a booth in which attendees could try our hololens demo. I worked on the visuals that Danny DeRuntz implemented into the final experience.

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The event also had some posters with food authentification facts that I had worked on in the lab.

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Illuminate Concepts

A spectroscopy prototype, Illuminate would allow food distribution center workers to verify the nutritional value and integrity of food recieved at a warehouse. At a systems level, it was intended to serve as a data layer for farmers, distributors, and consumers to have better understanding of a piece of foods nutritional value at any point in the process.

The concepts I prototyped revolved around tracking these values and displaying them in context at different points within the process.

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Along the way of pathfinding for different usecases for Illuminate, we explored soil sampling and analysis to matchup with predictive yield outcomes and create an oracle (source of truth) for farmland value and land-sharing to dedicate multiple farm land areas for different suppliers. This was a concept attempting to create more equitable relationships between producers and distributors of food.

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The Journey of Our Food

I created a web experience logging the Illuminate journey of a calf through the food system, as well as telling a story of our findings from visiting a Target food distribution center in Lakeland, FL.

During our time in the center, we found many different moments in which food has a chance to either exit the food system entirely and end up at food aggregators or second line of defence food waste mechanisms (farmers markets or off-stand markets like Boston's Haymarket), or where different devices are used to keep them within known USDA guidepaths that keep them on their way to your home.

We created the experiences to archive the research for the team, and to publish later as content for Target and IDEO.

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Sound Bites Audio Experience

Sound bites was a web experience that was powered by fruits and vegetables and a MakeyMakey device to create a small installation where attendees could touch different pieces of commonly fraud-related foods to hear news stories and interviews about food fraud about them.

Keyboard presses where mapped to mp3 play events that were transferred to the pieces of food. You can play with an early prototype version here (use your a, b, and c keys).

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American Fish by Illuminate

Amerifish was a concept that allowed consumers to view Illuminate data directly on their phones at point of sale with tags on fish at grocery stores. These authentication tags would be attached on a fishermans boat when the fish was caught.

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