iScream, you scream: The dessert that talks to you

iScream, you scream: The dessert that talks to you

Researchers at RMIT University have developed iScream! – an innovative ice cream cone that roars, crunches, giggles and burps – to support more positive, playful relationships with what we eat.

In an era of dieting and calorie-counting, the sheer joy of food can often fall by the wayside.

iScream! was designed and produced at RMIT’s Exertion Games Lab to change this relationship, by combining digital play and eating to create more positive experiences with our food.

The cone can be used with any regular ice cream, and uses capacitive sensing concealed in the 3D-printed cone, separate from the ice cream, to sense the user's eating-actions.

The project draws on research that suggests food sounds, such as the crunch of raw carrots or peanuts, have the potential to affect our food perceptions

RMIT Exertion Games Lab Director Professor Florian 'Floyd' Mueller said their studies showed that the innovative ice cream cone supported users to have a more positive and playful relationship with food.

"When it comes to technology and food, like mobile apps, we see a lot of eating interventions targeting specific aims, such as what not to eat and weight loss goals," he said.

"These interventions often take a very reductionistic approach, regarding eating as only calorie intake, therefore forgetting the pure joy that food can offer.

"We believe we need a more holistic approach to truly influence our food culture so we've looked at the pleasures of eating ice cream and explored what role playful technology can play in this regard.

"We hope that in the future this will offer a more complete understanding of what we call 'interactive eating' – informed from the best of these different approaches in order to truly affect how we eat in the future," he said. 

iScream! draws on research that suggests that food sounds have the potential to affect our food perception and could potentially contribute to a playful eating experience.

iScream! was developed by PhD candidate Yan Wang together with lab members Robert Jarvis, Zhuying Li and Joseph La Delfa with supervisors Florian 'Floyd' Mueller and Rohit Ashok Khot.

The research is being presented at CHI PLAY ’19 – a major conference on games and human-computer interaction from 22–25 October at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain.

Work by RMIT's Exertion Games Lab has won several major design and technology awards, has been exhibited worldwide as well as attracted international research funding.

The paper Towards Understanding the Design of Playful Gustosonic Experiences with Ice Cream is published for CHI PLAY’19, October 22–25, 2019, Barcelona, Spain.

Learn more about RMIT Europe.

Story: Marlen Kakkori and Michael Quin

21 October 2019


21 October 2019


  • Research
  • RMIT Europe
  • Science and technology

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