Rethinking Domestic Food Consumption through a Multi-modal Open Pantry | TEI 2023

Abstract: The fast-paced lifestyle and the conveniences of urban food storage contribute to an increase in domestic food waste, wherein we end up not consuming everything that we buy. This issue has been tackled within HCI through different awareness tools; however, the design of domestic food storage in itself has received limited attention from designers. We present FoodChestra, a smart open pantry that displays perishable food items in shared households. FoodChestra supports multimodal interactions and offers timely feedback to help users understand and reflect on their shared shopping and eating practices. In this pictorial, we present the key design decisions that were undertaken to develop the five main components of FoodChestra. Through this work, we aim to inspire new design thinking for reimagining the food storage systems of urban households that can encourage people to reflect on their food consumption practices.


Gut microbes and human factors: engaging with science through board game play | Nutrition Society of Australia 2023

Abstract: The lack of diversity in the gut microbiome is linked to a host of health concerns, including autoimmune illnesses that are increasingly impacting various populations across the globe.(1) Our gut microbiome is influenced by factors including our interaction with food, environment, and social factors. The level of understanding of these factors and their influence on gut health is however rudimentary in the general population, and the non-lay friendly presentation of science information also remains a challenge. Our study aimed to enhance awareness of the factors that influence the gut microbiome via the testing and evaluation of a board game, Gooey Gut Trail. The game was designed to deconstruct scientific information and uncover the microscopic interactions we encounter daily, through real-world scenarios introduced by the game components. Players interact with the card decks detailing various scenarios and food categories that influence the diversity between friendly and unfriendly gut bacteria. Players win by reducing unfriendly bacteria and increasing friendly gut bacteria to achieve a balance between them as they move them across the game board. The game was tested through a qualitative field study involving (n = 15) participants (7 males, 8 females) aged 21–58 years with diverse ethnic and educational backgrounds. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individual participants to gather pre- and post-game awareness levels. We conducted a thematic analysis of interview data to understand how the game helped raise participant awareness levels. This was further supported by conducting observations of gameplay video data. Comparing pre- and post-game interview data, we found that participants (n = 10) self-reported that interaction with the game was instrumental in increasing their awareness on the topic from a beginner to intermediate level. In participants with intermediary understanding (n = 5), it led to new insight acquisition such as the benefits of eating prebiotic and probiotic foods, interaction with green spaces and pets. Participant interaction with the food deck enabled learning by doing. Food deck scenarios required participants to fill their food plates with diverse ingredients, which led many to understand the importance of meal diversity for a healthy gut microbiome (n = 10). Participants (n = 8) self-reported feeling the urge to reconsider their meal habits to include diversity in their meal choices. Participants reflected on finding new associations between their everyday activities and the gut microbiome to be instrumental in motivating them to participate in diverse activities. These findings suggest active interdisciplinary collaborations between the fields of nutrition science and interaction design can facilitate playful explorations towards understanding gut health. In doing so, creative fields can also be leveraged by scientific communities to communicate new insights to the general population. Future explorations can involve testing the efficacy of such play-based approaches in long-term decision-making and behavioural change.

1 Brody, H (2020) Nature 577 (7792), S5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


Designing Interactive Experiences For Gut Health Engagement and Reflection | CHI 2023

Abstract: Human gut health is the epicentre of human health and well-being. We engage in microscopic interactions in our day-to-day lives that influence our gut health, however, our understanding of this relationship is scarce. Current approaches to engage people on gut-related factors are heavily jargonised, lacking real-world application and focus on disease-causing aspects, thus limiting motivation to engage with gut health. Research suggests that games can act as powerful tools for engagement and reflection on this topic. This PhD research explores the design of two games to understand the key game design features that enable engagement with gut health. The results from testing these games will be generalised to inform the design of physical and digital games for engagement and reflection on health.


Gooey Gut Trail: Board Game Play to Understand Human-Microbial Interactions | Journal CHI PLAY 2022

Abstract: Our gastrointestinal health is influenced by complex interactions between our gut bacteria and multiple external factors. A wider understanding of these concepts is vital to help make gut-friendly decisions in everyday life; however, its complexity can challenge public understanding if not approached systematically. Research suggests that board games can help to playfully navigate complex subjects. We present Gooey Gut Trail (GGT), a board game to help players understand the multifactorial interactions that influence and sustain gut microbial diversity. Through the embodied enactment of in-game activities, players learn how their habits surrounding diet, physical activity, emotions, and lifestyle influence the gut microbial population. A qualitative field study with 15 participants revealed important facets of our game design that increased participants’ awareness, causing them to reflect upon their habits that influence gut health. Drawing upon the study insights, we present five design considerations to aid future playful explorations on nurturing human-microbial relationships.


Understanding Screen-based Dining Practices through the Lens of Mindful Eating | CHI 2022

Abstract: Our eating practices are increasingly overshadowed by the presence of screen-based media technologies that conflict with the ideologies of mindful eating. However, little is known about whether and how screens influence our eating behaviors. To contribute to this understanding, we present a rich account of dining practices of ten participants with and without screen. Our study revealed that eating with screens was found more enjoyable than eating alone. Screens can influence one’s awareness of hunger and other behaviors like chewing rate and food gaze, whereas screen-media did not trigger any judgements for food. Drawing on the study insights, we highlight the role of technology to support bodily awareness, savoring, a non-judgmental attitude to eating and on rethinking distractions as companions. The outlined considerations encourage a creative yet careful take on making mindful eating more accessible within the realities of screen-based dining cultures.



Gooey Gut Trail: Demystifying Human Gut Health Through a Board Game | Pictorial C&C 2021

Abstract: Human gut health is influenced by a range of factors; however, it is often perceived through a single lens-the food we eat. With the increase in auto-immune disorders, having a holistic understanding of gut health factors is imperative. In an attempt to extend this perception of gut health beyond just food to other major factors that influence it, we designed a board game, called Gooey Gut Trail (GGT). GGT aims to create awareness and enable self-reflection amongst players through the introduction of real-world human actions and interactions that influence gut health. The game involves the use of natural accessories of a physical dining context to enable a contextual understanding of gut health. In this pictorial, we present our design process involving the synthesis and presentation of scientific literature through play; offer a critical reflection on key design decisions and the challenges addressed; elaborate on the iterative process involved in the development of a domestic science-based research product and our future plans.