Our project addresses the themes of trust, information credibility and the relationship between fads and crises. We are using food safety and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as target issues because the information surrounding them is notoriously hyperbolic and their proponents are stereotypically ill-informed or easily persuaded.

We are creating a pseudo-scientific food safety product, Spekkl, that targets overtly health-conscious parents—mommies and daddies actively anti-GMO blogging and shopping. The caregiving and protective nature of these parents makes them an especially susceptible audience within the realm of food safety.


Spekkl is a small, handheld device that claims to detect GMO contamination, pesticides, herbicides, irradiation and freshness in any food or drink item using infrared spectroscopic scanning.

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Spekkl allows us to create a performative fiction that takes place online via the Spekkl website and dedicated email. We have accumulated contact information for over 65 blogs and Facebook groups in the topics of food safety / parenting / health. We will send a Spekkl press release to this list in hopes that the bloggers will publish our content and market the product:

Spekkl Begins Pre-Orders for Spekkl Food Safety Tool

April 13, 2015 (Pittsburgh, PA) – Beginning April 13, Spekkl is offering pre-orders for Spekkl, the on-the-go well-being and food safety tool. Spekkl is a small, handheld device that detects genetically modified organism (GMO) contamination, pesticides, herbicides, irradiation and freshness in any food or drink item. The device leverages infrared spectroscopic technology to read and interpret the chemical makeup of food in the grocery store or at home, empowering the everyday consumer to know exactly what they purchase and eat.

Spekkl will be available for pre-order at spekkl.com and will retail for $69.99. Pre-order submission will act as a waitlist with no purchase necessary. A limited supply will be available for purchase beginning June 1 and orders will begin shipping around July 1.

Spekkl was developed by a team of engineers and industrial designers to be practical, powerful and beautiful. Spekkl features a 1.5 x 2.2 inches (38.1mm x 56mm) 256-color transflective TFT display and simple three-button control. At 7.5 oz. (213 g) and 2.4W x 6.1H x 1.3D inches (61mm x 155mm x 33mm), Spekkl fits easily into a purse or bag. Spekkl is powered with two “AA” batteries (not included). An adjustable, detachable wrist strap and information guide to the measured food safety levels are included with Spekkl.

About Spekkl

Spekkl is a health technology startup based in Pittsburgh, PA, founded in September 2012. The Spekkl team began within the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation at Carnegie Mellon and is made up of two chemical engineers and two industrial designers. In a world of false advertising, buzzwords and sensationalized labeling, Spekkl aims to make accurate food knowledge accessible to each and every person.

The website will feature renderings of and information about the product, why you should use it, and a form to pre-order (with no purchase necessary). We will measure the success of this project based on the number of pre-orders we receive, signaling belief and desire for the product.

Towards the end of the project we will send reply emails to individuals who placed pre-orders, describing the nature of the project and that the product is not real.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.09.25 PMWe will present our project as the physical product and branded website, along with the email conversations we have with potential consumers and their reactions to the project.


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