Computational Commensality: from theories to computational models for social food preparation and consumption in HCI

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Niewiadomski, Radoslaw
Ceccaldi, Eleonora
Huisman, Gijs
Volpe, Gualtiero
Mancini, Maurizio
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Food and eating are inherently social activities taking place, for example, around the dining table at home, in restaurants, or in public spaces. Enjoying eating with others, often referred to as “commensality,” positively affects mealtime in terms of, among other factors, food intake, food choice, and food satisfaction. In this paper we discuss the concept of “Computational Commensality,” that is, technology which computationally addresses various social aspects of food and eating. In the past few years, Human-Computer Interaction started to address how interactive technologies can improve mealtimes. However, the main focus has been made so far on improving the individual's experience, rather than considering the inherently social nature of food consumption. In this survey, we first present research from the field of social psychology on the social relevance of Food- and Eating-related Activities (F&EA). Then, we review existing computational models and technologies that can contribute, in the near future, to achieving Computational Commensality. We also discuss the related research challenges and indicate future applications of such new technology that can potentially improve F&EA from the commensality perspective.
Commensality , Food , Food recognition , HCI , Social signal processing , Embodied interfaces , Social robots , Augmented experience
Niewiadomski, R., Ceccaldi, E., Huisman, G., Volpe, G. and Mancini, M. (2019) 'Computational Commensality: From Theories to Computational Models for Social Food Preparation and Consumption in HCI', Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 6, 119 (19pp). doi: 10.3389/frobt.2019.00119