Last updated January 16, 2020 at 11:26 am
In a world of numbers and nutrients, sometimes we forget that food can be fun. Scientists have created a burping, giggling ice cream cone to remind us to enjoy food.
Why This Matters: Oh god I don’t know. I just know I won’t sleep tonight.
The summer scorchers are on their way and what better way to cool down then a delicious serving of ice cream.
You scoop your favourite flavour (chocolate obvs) into the cone, lick your lips and take a bite and just as your savouring the delicious creaminess, you hear a childlike giggle. There’s no one around you, so you brush it off as your imagination – but this time when you go to take a bite you hear a growl.
It sounds like a bizarre scene from a horror movie, but instead of an evil doll, those sounds might just be your ice cream cone.
Researchers at RMIT University have developed an ice cream cone that roars, crunches, giggles and burps to create a playful eating experience.
iScream!, a 3D-printed ice cream cone, uses capacitive sensors to generate playful sounds based on how ice cream in the cone is eaten.
“We believe eating and play go well together because eating is inherently fun as food can provide people with pleasurable experiences,” write the researchers in their paper published for CHI PLAY’19 conference.
iScream highlights the pure joy food can offer
“Current technology tends to take a computer science approach to food, targeting specific aims such as what not to eat and weight loss goals.”
“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,” he says.
“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.”
A multiplayer iScream experience?
Yan Wang, who helped develop the cone, believes that 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 explains.
“We hope that this research will inspire and guide designers to create more possibilities to experience eating as play.”
The scientist’s next step was to develop a “multiplayer” version of the iScream – two cones that will be able to communicate to each other while the you and a friend eat ice cream.