PaintCan: Automated Mixing Machine

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PaintCan is a product similar to many types of standalone machine interface designed to streamline the process of selecting and purchasing paint in large home DIY stores. PaintCan allows users to customize the paint selection process without overloading service representative desks in paint departments.

PaintCan offers a touchscreen interface capable of scanning and analyzing paint samples from in-store displays or photographs brought in by the customer. After analysis the interface allows the customer to modify the color they have chosen as they see fit (including brightness and saturation calibration). Once the customer is satisfied with their choice they are able to select the type of paint (ie. indoor/outdoor, gloss level and size). The customer is then directed to the correct base paint (kept on hand beside the machine) which they are able to insert into the paint mixing area (a larger machine design would support automation of this task by the machine but for the current proposal the machine should not take up more than 10 square feet to cut down on crowding in stores and enable the presence of multiple machines). A door keeps customers from touching the paint once mixing has begun. After mixing the machine applies the correct label to the can and opens the door. Customers are offered the option to mix more paint, quit and pay at a register or pay at the PaintCan machine. Additional features include the ability to pre-order via email (to be filled by either the customer when they arrive or by a service representative via the same computerized system) and store orders through PaintCan or online.

PaintCan is designed to supplement paint representatives in large home DIY stores, to allow customers a quick method to get what they need and get painting, to cut wait times for service representatives during peak hours and to automate the process of routine paint purchases freeing employees to answer paint choice questions and offer expert opinions.


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  • Name:
    Bridget Lewis
  • Type of entry:
  • Profession:
  • Bridget's favorite design and analysis tools:
    Task Analysis including cognitive walk through and comparative user testing.
  • Bridget's hobbies and activities:
    Homebrewing, hiking, frisbee golf, painting, cooking and baking (but more so baking) all for fun and research, research, research for what comprises 90% of my activities.
  • Bridget is inspired by:
    Utility and time effectiveness. I'm a PhD students so I have very little free time and I hate to waste what I little I have waiting for something I feel like I could do myself. This specific design is based on the idea that a DIY store should have DIY purchasing.
  • Software used for this entry:
  • Patent status: