There is an increasing trend in HCI on human-food interaction, however, we find that most work so far seems to focus on what happens to the food before and during eating, i.e. the preparation and consumption stage. In contrast, there is a limited understanding and exploration around using interactive technology to support the embodied plate-to- mouth movement of food during consumption, which we aim to explore through a playful design in a social eating context. We present Arm-A-Dine, an augmented social eating system that uses wearable robotic arms attached to diners’ bodies for eating and feeding food. Drawing on the relationship between effect and food and extending it to the social setting, Arm-A-Dine is networked so that a person’s third arm is controlled by the effective responses of his/her dining partner. From the study of Arm-A-Dine with 12 players, we articulate three design themes: Reduce bodily control during eating, draw attention to sensory aspects to facilitate savoring during eating and encourage crossmodal sharing during eating, to assist game designers and food practitioners in creating playful social eating experiences. We hope that our work inspires further explorations around food and play that consider all eating stages, ultimately contributing to our understanding of playful human-food interaction.
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