iScream, you scream: The dessert that talks to you

iScream, you scream: The dessert that talks to you

RMIT University researchers have developed an ice cream cone that roars, crunches, giggles and burps to encourage us to have more fun with our food in an era of numbers and nutrients.

Designed and produced at RMIT’s Exertion Games Lab, iScream!, a 3D-printed ice cream cone, uses capacitive sensors to generate playful sounds based on how ice cream in the cone is eaten.

The project drew on research that suggests food sounds, such as the crunch of raw carrots or peanuts, have the potential to alter our perception of flavours and change our way of eating.

RMIT Exertion Games Lab Director Professor Florian “Floyd” Mueller said that, especially in a city like Melbourne, it was important to highlight the cultural and social aspects of food.

"Current technology tends to take a computer science approach to food, targeting specific aims such as what not to eat and weight loss goals," he said.

“This is a very reductionistic approach, regarding eating as only calorie intake, and, therefore, forgetting the pure joy that food can offer. But technology doesn’t have to be that way, if you design it right.

“Our study showed that the iScream encouraged users to have a more positive and playful relationship with food, with 60% saying it made them think differently about the way they ate.”

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

Wang said she believed we need a playful approach with technology to influence our eating experiences in the future.

“Participants have told us that they enjoyed eating with iScream, and that they changed the way they ate to experiment with the playful sounds,” she said.

“We hope that this research will inspire and guide designers to create more possibilities to experience eating as play.”

She said the next step was to develop a “multiplayer” version of the iScream, with two cones that will be able to communicate to each other while the users eat ice cream.

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.

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

The paper ‘Towards Understanding the Design of Playful Gustosonic Experiences with Ice Cream’ was published for CHI PLAY’19, a major conference on games and human-computer interaction, held in Barcelona, Spain. 

 

Story: Marlen Kakkori and Jasmijn van Houten

20 November 2019

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20 November 2019

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  • Research
  • RMIT Europe
  • Science and technology

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