FoodCHI 2017

Nov 17 - 18, 2017, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Prof. Charles Spence

University of Oxford, UK

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Gastrophysics: Using technology to enhance the experience of food and drink

Currently, technology mostly distracts us from what we are eating and drinking. As hand-held devices continues to evolve, food and drink will increasingly have to fight with our smart phones, rather than the TV, for our attention. Some chefs have already responded to the challenge by trying to ban technology at the dinner table. However, I am optimistic that, in the years to come, technology will rather become integral to our food and drink experiences: Everything from using your tablet as 21st century plateware (now that they are dishwasher safe), through to using hand-held technologies to provide a dash of sonic (digital) seasoning – that is, providing the right sonic backdrop (be it music or soundscapes) matched to bring out the best in whatever we happen to be eating or drinking. In this talk, I will highlight the ways in which technology will, and will not, change our experience of food and drink in the years to come. I will give examples from modernist chefs and molecular mixologists that are already starting to transform our mainstream experience – be it in the air or in the home environment.

Short bio:

Prof. Spence is a prize-winning experimental psychologist whose research lies at the interface between modernist cuisine and commercial food and beverage design. He has worked with many of the world’s largest food and beverage companies/brands and Michelin-starred chefs. Prof. Spence has published more than 800 articles as well as authoring and editing 10 books. He is a passionate advocate of the application of the latest insights from experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience to the design of better-tasting, more stimulating, more memorable, and healthier food and drink experiences – an approach that comes under the banner of gastrophysics. His recent book (with Betina Piqueras-Fiszman), "The Perfect Meal", was awarded the 2015 Prose Prize for popular science. He has just published “Gastrophysics: The new science of eating” with Penguin Viking.

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Video recording of the talk