Food Memories

Interaction concept

Interaction Design

Umeå Institute of Design

Year / Duration

2011 / 8 weeks

In collaboration with



Food memories is a product-service based system  that allows people to look back in time and have an overview of how their eating habits have changed over time.

The system aims to provide the users a way to be aware of their current eating habits as a starting point to develop creativity in the kitchen and find new ways of cooking.


Video showing how the system would work over time in a particular context.


Inspiration projects

As an inspiration for this project I did some research about existing products and concepts that have been developed in the areas of emotional design, table top interfaces in the kitchen, exploration of how the objects change over the time and smart interfaces that learn from the user  and change according to the way he/she interacts with them. 

Research methods

Quantitative and qualitative research methods were utilized on the early phase of this project. Online surveys to more than 25 people asking about their regular eating habits and the way they interact with the kitchen utensils were done.

Contextual inquiries were made to a more specific target group according to the results from the quantitative study.

User insights

After synthesizing all the input obtained from the studies, four main areas of interest were identified to the further development of the concept.

- Learning about cooking.

- Creativity in the kitchen.

- Emotional and meaningful objects.

- Cultural heritage.


The more the object is used, the more it evolves. It is always learning from the user. At the moment the user starts using the product, he/she starts personalizing it unconsciously through the everyday interactions with it.

The product is a part of a service which recognizes and remembers the user's eating habits.

Passing of time

The way the marks of time are marked on the plate is inspired by the way the ime is "printed" on the tree rings.

On the plate, the outer rings representa the patterns on the recent years, and the center of the plate represents an overview of the complete history of the object.

Visualization on the plate

The plate is the main interface between the system and the user.

The curcumference of the plate is divided in 5 sections. Each of the sections corresponds to a different group of food, according to the "eat well pate model": bread and pastas (yellow), fruit and vegetables (green) , dairy food (blue), proteins (pink) and fat/sugars (purple).



Thoughtful and connected environment

Food memories contributes to keep the user's cultural heritage alive for future generations within the family and; it gives the users the opportunity of learn or get inspired by the way their ancestors use to prepare the food.

It is a system of connected kitchen artifacts that collects information from their users while performing everyday cooking related activities. The products that are part of the service, act as memory keepers. 


Emotional design and memory

The fact the objects contain meaningful content for the users is translated into a stronger emotional connection between them and their objects. These objects with meaningful content can be inherited from the users' relatives to know how their family members use to cook in the past.

This enables a non-verbal communication with the user relatives in the past even if he/she never got the chance to meet them in person, but it also represents an opportunity to let the future generations know a bit more about the user's current habits.



How would your plate look like?

This project is a prospective to the future based on the behavior of people in the present. It also takes into account the development of new technologies during the last years.

Food memories is meant to be a provocative concept to generate discussions around the use of new technologies in everyday life in the future.

It also takes into consideration the importance of the interaction between people in a longer term through the objects we design nowadays.