Telematic Dinner Party

In collaboration with Pollie Barden at Queen Mary, University of London, we explored how internet technology can help two remote groups in casual settings to interact with each other. We used a dinner party as the setting, as many people use meals as a way to socialise with friends and family. We used Skype as the platform on which to run the dinner party. Two groups of three people sat around tables in separate rooms. A bird’s eye view of each group was projected onto the other group’s table, allowing all six people to see and talk to each other. The food was presented on motorised, wirelessly-connected turntables in the middle of each table (built using Microsoft Research’s Gadgeteer prototyping platform—guests in one room could therefore offer food to (or take it away from) guests in the other, enabling an experience that was reminiscent of the groups being physically together.