The “Playful Self” exhibition piece made me think about how differently we might interact with objects in the future. More specifically, even the most mundane objects could become direct gateways of access to data, instead of obtaining information through a digital screen. The way we interact with the tangible world around us as the technologized world becomes evermore ubiquitous is changing and will continue to change. Based on this thought, I wanted to explore how food could also do the same or similar processes that the objects in “Playful Self” did, and start thinking about how our relationships with food could further change.
Regarding responsive objects relating to our experiences with food, I looked into the concept of a smart fork that can detect what one is eating and provide feedback on how one is progressing on eating healthier meals: the “Uninvited Guests” video shows how numerous mundane objects, including forks, that have become technologized can cause friction within our daily lives. Like the fork in “Uninvited Guests,” my design would detect the food and respond with warnings or comments about the food being eaten, which would be sent to be communicated with the user through a digital screen. However, I wanted to track how foods changed your body as you ate them, providing constantly-changing feedback onto the display screen. This would avoid the possibility of “fooling” the fork by surrounding it with certain foods that you were not actually eating, as the man in the “Uninvited Guests” video does.
HAPIfork is yet another similar real product that helps people control their eating habits and thus their experiences with food. The electronic fork monitors and tracks the user’s eating habits, and is capable of alerting them if they are eating too quickly. Using a USB or Bluetooth, the HAPIfork can show your progress through a screen and coach you on your eating to further improve. Likewise, I envisioned my design to also show progress on eating habits addressing, for instance, fruit consumption and nutrient consumption progress to address a deficiency of it. Not only did I want my design to merely reflect the biometric data in one’s body, but I also sought to incorporate analysis and interpretation of that data.
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