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UX Design, Prototyping, User Interview

Individual Project, Duration: 7 weeks

Fall 2017

Food Teller Machine is a prototype that encourages and explores social communication by using food as a way to exchange memories, experiences, and cultures all at once. 





 The project derived from the field research in local grocery markets in the Great Los Angeles Area. As conventionally speculated, grocery markets would provide food commodities based on the needs of local communities. What does it mean if there are "exotic" foods provided? there could be two alternative explanations: one is people who have different eating habits may be living within this community; and the other is, the community people may have a diverse dietary culture.



"What is in your shopping basket?"

Two possible explanations: one is that the people who have different eating habits live in this community nearby; the other is, the community members may have a diverse dietary culture already.


After the interview with twelve groups of people in the market, the speculation leads me to think about people from different cultural backgrounds who have different cooking styles and dietary habits. The story and memory behind the foods that people chose in their shopping basket is the treasure of my design.

An experimental video created during the research that explores the relationship between food and memory.

Unfoturenatly sometimes it is hard for people who have a different background to decode the information of familiar food in other people's background. The signal is easy to lose.




By recalling the memory of my own experience of being an international student as studying and living abroad, I found that it was fascinating to see how people build their dietary habits by learning and sharing the food culture




Set up free food samples to invite people to try out unfamiliar food and encourage them to think about another similar food based on their foretaste and write it down.

Thinking about creating mysterious boxes which could hide information showed from the package of the food as a way of reducing interferential information during the user test.


Notes collected from the 1st intervention.

How to encourage the experience of exchanging cultures &memories?


Food Machine Teller

The input is a note written by a person after he or she tries out the test food. The note will be put into a pool of food impression. Then the device will randomly output someone else's memory of a similar food related to the test food.



1st lo-fi prototype

Test table set up.


Collected notes of food impression

result of the 2nd iteration

3rd iteration


Food memo design

Printed food memo by a receipt printer


A food knowledge database of user's sensory input of other related foods based on on-site user interview and rapid prototyping.


Food is essential to people, which is not only provides nutrition and energy to our physical bodies but also embedded within our ceremonies and cultures. This research explores the possibility of an innovative social communication experience by using food as the medium that carries the message of personal experiences and memories, shared cultural backgrounds and dietary habits.  


Rather than the linear result of a bunch of food images showed by search engine to know more about food, this project tried to provide connections of different food based on users' sensory data, which provides an alternative solution to the question that how we might transform our sensory information into a computing-based database. The following is a future scenario where relative food message, including ingredient, recipe, dietary habit, story, and cultural background, are embedded with the food itself. And people can get this augmented information by ubiquitous computing mixed reality which is widely used in mundane life.

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