We present a sensible dining set, DiningTogether, as a new way to help people in a distance to have implicit and emotional communications when eating. The goal of the DiningTogether is to reconstruct the atmosphere of eating together in ambient and implicit ways. By exchanging the current states of dining wares, two separated dining events can be connected together. Using a dining set as eating tools and displaying tools at the same time, we intend to aid people to feel as if they are sharing food and drinks with their family or a close friend. DiningTogether includes Lover's cups, Family Dishes, and Emo-Clothes.
Lover's Cups are designed to explore the idea of sharing a cup or drink remotely, especially between long-distance couples. A cup, which can be also used for its original purpose, drinking, shows the liquid level and the touch of lips to the other cup. By this way, users can see in their own cup how much liquid is in the other's cup and when s/he is drinking by which side. Overlapped on their own real liquid, these kinds of displays can help people to feel as if they are sharing the same cups and the same liquid. Also, users can make virtual kisses remotely with Lover's Cups.
Family Dishes (movie)
Family Dishes are designed to help people to be aware of each other's eating while they are having a meal. Like Lover's Cup, a set of Family Dishes is connected to each other, exchanges the information of how much food each dish contains, and displays each other's information on its surface with brightness of LEDs - if the other's dish is full of food, the dish becomes bright. People can share the information about how much food is left on each other's dish and when s/he is eating while they are eating with Family Dishes.
Emo-clothes are a set of table clothes which can show the other's environment and table information across geographical distance. Basically, they are designed to show the weather information of the counterpart Emo-clothe's location by its colors. However, in the first prototype, we used the thermometer and showed the temperature around the other emo-clothe. If it is cold in the location of the counterpart, it turns blue, and if it is hot, red.
I/O Spoons (still an idea)
I/O spoons are a pair of spoons that can sense and display what's inside the spoon for the other one.
We thank Tangible Interface Class 2004 for their inputs.