Eating like an astronaut: How children are willing to eat
© 2020 ACM. How food is presented and eaten influences the eating experience. Novel gustatory interfaces have opened up new ways for eating at the dining table. For example, recent developments in acoustic technology have enabled the transportation of food and drink in mid-air, directly into the user's tongue. Basic taste particles like sweet, bitter and umami have higher perceived intensity when delivered with acoustic levitation, and are perceived as more pleasant despite their small size (approx. 20 L or 4mm diameter droplets). However, it remains unclear if users are ready to accept this delivery method at the dining table. Sixty-nine children aged 14 to 16 years did a taste test of 7 types of foods and beverages, using two delivery methods: acoustic levitation, and knife and fork (traditional way). Children were divided into two groups: one group was shown a video demonstrating how levitating food can be eaten before the main experiment whereas the other group was shown the videos after. Our results showed no significant differences in liking of the foods and beverages between the two delivery methods. However, playing the video prior to the test significantly increased the liking and willingness to eat vegetables in the levitation method. Evaluative feedback suggested that a bigger portion size of levitating foods could be the game-changer to integrate this novel technology into real-life eating experiences.