Happier and Healthier

Meet Nuo, an app and a device designed to breaks down the barriers for older adults to healthy eating by introducing a unique set of practical and cognitive tools.

Malnutrition and loneliness, are two intertwined issues that particularly affect older adults. To addressing the link, Nuo has created own recipe vocabulary and flexible ecosystem to offer personalised recipes, to help older adults make informed food choices and cultivate sustainable nutrition rhythm.Ultimately,  Nuo enables individuals of all ages to unlock a community of happier and healthier eating.

Project Info
Group Project
5 Months, 2022

UX/UI, User Research, Workshops
App Wireframe, Rapid Prototyping, Usability Testing
Technology validation, Concept, Visuals, Branding

Older adults
Healthy eating
Accessibility, Well-being

Design Methods
UX/UI Design
Accessible Design  
Human-centered Design

Figma, Processing, Arduino,
Rhino, Keyshot, Premier Pro,
Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Chun-Te Ho
Fiona Wei
Max Drake

Visit on your laptop to check for the research process and full details

The Problem.

It's estimated that one million older adults in the UK, or 1 in 10 over the age of 65, are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Older adults run a disproportionate risk for being lonely and for being malnourished, two issues which are surprisingly interwoven. This is both a social problem, and a financial one.

As the overall population ages, retirement increases the likelihood of clinical depression by 40%, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs. We are looking at newly retirees, as preventing malnutrition early on is crucial.

Our research aims to explore how food can be utilised as a key route to improve the nutritional status and cognitive function of older adults and promote a happier, healthier lifestyle?

Opportunity Space.

Most existing solutions are either expensive, inaccessible, or not respectful of older adults autonomy. We also found that the link between malnutrition and
loneliness is rarely explored in these solutions.


User Research.

I. Interview with Users
Our initial interviews with users revealed a link between malnutrition and loneliness among older adults. Physical barriers to healthy food habits are part of the problem, social, mental, physical, and financial fatigue all play a significant role in the dietary patterns of older adults.

Interview with Older Adults
Interview with Older Adults

II. Experiment Gallery
We also conducted a series of experiments to explore interventions towards older adults in terms of community, food, nutrition, and socialisation, with the aim of identifying where and how they could apply to our user group.

Experiments with Older Adults
Experiments with Older Adults

We gained valuable insights into the problem space and user needs. For example, cooking can be tiring, but sharing it with loved ones is motivating. These findings have informed our ongoing work in this area.Insights from Experiments
Insight from Experiments

Expert Interview.

To gain professional insight into the link between malnutrition and loneliness, we consulted with psychologists and sociologists who specialise in the well-being of older adults.

Our discussions revealed that a vicious cycle exists, and that loneliness and malnutrition are not mutually exclusive problems.
Rather, they can have a compounding effect on one another. To make meaningful change, we need to tackle not just one of them.

Existing User Journey.

With research, We drew the journey map of older adults to find the touch points where design can intervene.
User Journey Map
Existing User Journey Map

One key insight is that the recipe is a pivot point affecting all other parts of one's food journey. We also found that community and family associations play a significant role in shaping the overall food experience.

Food Journey of Older Adults
Food Journey of Older Adults

Forward Direction: Understanding the challenges faced by newly retirees in relation to loneliness and malnutrition, we began ideating and prototyping potential solutions that leverage the power of recipes to address these issues.

Forward Direction: What if Recipe could


We started generating groups of concepts.

The concept selected was using an app with personalised recipe vocabulary to nurture an online and offline community around healthy eating. Additionally, , we explored the potential for a kitchen device to facilitate interaction with older adults.


Low-fi and high-fi prototypes were developed in three dimensions.
Device Sketch
Device Prototype
Device  Prototype

Usability Testing.

User Testing

We valued the feedback from our users. Users appreciated how the overall design did not disrupt their established food behaviors, while still providing new experiences and convenience through unique features such as step-by-step recipe instructions. They also saw the potential for long-term changes through using our app and devices.

Final Design.

Nuo is a device and an app that breaks down the barriers for older adults to access healthy food. Nuo has created own recipe vocabulary and flexible ecosystem to offer personalised recipes, to help older adults make informed food choices and cultivate sustainable nutrition rhythm.

This is the overview of Nuo. With a compact size, and greasy-free surface, we want Nuo to sit in your kitchen as the best nutrition reminder and helper, to lead you to a strong weekly meal plan, make you feel belong to kitchen, and enjoy food.

Apps are designed for both tablets and phones.

  • AI Recipes & Personalised Nutrition Monitor
NuoAI, a model that powers up a personalised recipe library based on users' needs, taking into account body factors. With the generated library, users could create meal plans and fully customise the macros that are being monitored.
NuoAI Algorithm
NuoAI Algorithm
NuoAI Works on App
NuoAI Works on App
  • Tangible Nutrition Monitor

Nuo monitors four customisable nutrition macros and will sync user’s weekly intake on the Nuo device.

Different awards and batches were designed to give incentives.

Tangible Nutrition Monitor
Recipe Vocabulary
  • Recipe Vocabulary

By breaking down the process of uploading recipes using our designed recipe vocabulary, we simplify the process. This allows us to match the uploaded data with our vocabulary library and include users' participance into our recipe ecosystem.

Nuo therefore break the cooking process down into easy-to-follow steps, allowing older adults to cook with ease.
Step by Step Recipe Demo - App&Device   
  • Nuo User Flow
Enjoy the next meal with a new experience from Nuo.
User Journey with Nuo System User Journey with Nuo System

Nuo Community.

Recipes are important cultural tool, and Nuo’s second goal is to tap into their ability to foster a hybrid online and offline community centered around healthy eating.

  • Online Community
Th App is designed with a community focus, blurring the online and offline boundaries.

  • Offline Community

Nuo turn the recipes into physical and digital recipe cards that can be found at the supermarket and on the Nuo-partnered brands.

They can be exchanged, shared, gifted, and heritaged into family recipe books.

Offline Community

  • Share with Nuo
These physical and digital touchpoints come together to produce an ecosystem where older adults receive the motivation, encouragement, and empowerment to develop a social and nutritional rhythm in the long run.
Nuo Community Sharing Journey
Nuo Community Sharing Journey


Show List

  • Imperial College London Spring show, Feb 2022

Special Thanks

Prof. Claudia Cooper
Faculty of Brain Sciences
University College London

Prof.Paul Higgs
Sociology of Aging
University College London

David Chen

Seth Drake

Audrey Gaulard
Innovation Design Engineering 
Imperial College London

Dr. Elena Dieckmann
Innovation Design Engineering 
Imperial College London

Iulia Ionescu
Visiting tutor
Royal College of Art


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