November 24, 2007
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October 2, 2007
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May 24, 2008
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Culinary Tagging Sketches

Project Members: 
Wesley Willett

Progress & Alterations - 10 / 09 / 2007


Shift in tangible interface control paradigm

After mapping out our conceptual idea we explored some possible methods of implementing our interface. Our original interface was conceived of a set of chopsticks which were capable of performing some chemical decomposition and sensing in order to ‘read’ a diner’s food. This approach seemed to impose some physical and technological limitations, eventually requiring a fundamental change in the development of our tangible interface from one that was inherently used by the diner to one that was available to both the dinner and the food preparer.

Tagging food

Our primary concern was finding some method of tracking food as it was prepared in a way that would not cause health concerns or diminish from the experience of eating. In our search we focused on two methods, the first being a direct application of tiny digestible RFID tags to food during preparation process. This method is based on a technology developed and patented by Kodak to help assist with the tracking of a patient’s consumption of medicines [1]. The advantage of using digestible RFIDs is that they can be seamlessly included within the food preparation process, allowing for the tagging of a food by specific utensils, chefs, and during preparation methods. However, it is conceivable that diners may not want to consume a technology they perceive as potentially capable of allowing others to invade their privacy. An alternative to circumvent this concern would be to include RFID tags on their dinnerware, which collects information from each utensil used by the chefs during preparation. We envision this scenario as being potentially more disruptive to the food preparer, because they require feedback to ensure the information about their activities is actively recorded by the dinnerware, whereas the digestible RFID tags can be physically added to a dish during the process of food preparation.

Retrieving tag data

We have proposed that the retrieval of information from the RFID tags either in the the dinnerware or directly added to the food should be an ambient process to ensure that the social and cultural expectations surrounding the act of food preparation and consumption are not disturbed. This could hypothetically be handled by any electronic device a diner might carry with them, such as their iPhone, laptop, or natively within special reader and storage utensils they use to eat, like our proposed chopstick interface for a diner. Food preparers may retrieve information from the RFID tags and visualize their data on interactive food preparation surfaces.

Thoughts about use scenarios

With our new focus considering the preparation of the food, as well as the direct consumption of food, we have also discussed possible applications of this interface that are beyond the scope of our original proposal. One such application is highly customized food preparation for an extremely personal eating experience or for people with sensitive diets such as those with severe allergies.

1. System to monitor the ingestion of medicines.

culinarytag-sketch.pdf1.19 MB


Comments from TUI Teaching Team

From Dave:
That was NOT a sketch =P Nice work, anyways! It's nice to see the tools and system you are presenting. Looks like some design evolution happened here, and even though there are some big themes of interaction, it would be nice to see some specific uses of your system. Think more concretely here, even down to the use-case level. The "Tag Registration" is excellent, giving us an idea how a chef may use the system. Along those lines, you may want to consider (though you don't have to consider all) how is this going to be used in the home? How about the restaurant? Pretend I have no imagination and show me.

From Kimiko:
(Wow, did you guys come up with the taxonomy of chopstick interactions?)Much discussion is focused on how to tag food. Imagine you got that part figured out. How do you display the captured information in a compelling way in the context of consuming food? How do you display information in such a way it does not destroy the romantic dinner for two or a big family dinner over Thanksgiving? Try to close the interaction loop in a compelling yet natural way. For your presentation, be prepared to present and discuss a user journey that unfolds and possibly evolves over time.

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