Using desserts to decode computing

New research from Monash University uses food to help demonstrate the basics of computing while creating new frontiers in food experiences.

The past decade has seen great strides in innovative food experiences such as 3D printed food, ingestible sensors, combining robots with food service, and food with augmented reality. So far, these experiments have only involved using the technology alongside existing food.

Logic Bonbon offers a “cyber” food experience that combines the application of logical operations – the building blocks of every digital computer – with edible materials resulting in the creation of a liquid-centric dessert.

A Logic Bonbon system includes a pre-made hollow candy along with the option of three different “logic gates” that allow flavored liquids to flow into the candy.

Users can introduce different liquids to the candy simultaneously, and the candy is filled with different combinations of flavors and colors depending on the “logic gate” used. The Bonbon also has a transparent top layer that allows users to see their end results.

Image: A Logic Bonbon with an AND logic gate displaying a heart emoticon with a mix of two flavors (raspberry and green apple) is ready to eat.

Lead author Jialin Deng, from the Faculty of Information Technology’s Stress Game Lab, said the idea behind the development of the Logic Bonbon was to use food itself as an integral part of the game. calculation operation.

“Over three months, we tested the system with 10 participants, allowing them to smell, experience and ‘play’ with the Logic Bonbons, filling it with different flavor combinations that they could consume,” Ms. Deng.

“Through their interactions with the Logic Bonbons, participants experience and learn hands-on logic operations and essentially create an edible mini-computer that requires input, performs calculations, and results in different combinations of outputs while displaying different emoticons and flavors, allowing it is up to the user to experience the “taste” of calculation. »

Research co-author Professor Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, director of the Exertions Games Lab, said the process of interacting and understanding computation should not be limited to linear methods.

“Through this project, we’re showing that even food and interacting with your meal can be a way to introduce people to the concepts of computing,” Prof Mueller said.

“It would be great to see this research applied and further developed by creators such as chefs, food designers and foodies, to introduce computing concepts in fun multi-sensory ways and provide experiences where diners ‘run’ the ‘software’ that the chef programmed into their food.”

Possible future research on this project includes the development of more complex food-based computing systems to further explore how hospitality can be supported to provide unique experiences for diners while supporting the craft and expertise of the chef.

Logic Bonbon’s research results will be presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems to be held in New Orleans, USA, from April 30 to May 5.

Principal Investigator Jialin Deng is

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