Exploring Natural User Interfaces During Meal Times

Project overview

This project investigates the everyday interactions of family uses of technology around mealtimes and explores how family members configure their dinner space and the technologies within it. The researchers are seeking to understand how technologies are used and negotiated by family members and the influence of technologies during these interactions.

Recent technological advancements in digital devices have given people more access to things such as photos, videos and games on their handheld mobile devices and tablets. This project is exploring how the devices contribute to both positive family interactions and the tensions that digital media can bring about in these situations during family meals.

The project aims: to understand the role of everyday technologies during family mealtimes, to explore technology usage in the home during meals, and to design a NUI technology using gesture or voice to support naturally occurring social interactions during our family mealtimes.

Project team

  • Hasan Shahid Ferdous, PhD Candidate, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, University of Melbourne
  • Frank Vetere
    Frank Vetere, Professor & Director, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, University of Melbourne
  • Bernd Ploderer
    Bernd Ploderer, Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology & Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Kenton O’Hara, Researcher, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK & Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Robert Comber, Lecturer, Open Lab, Newcastle University, UK

Contact details


Ferdous, H. S., Ploderer, B., Davis, H., Vetere, F. & O'Hara, K (2016) Commensality and the Social Use of Technology during Family Mealtime. Accepted for publication in ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) [PDF]

Ferdous, H. S., Ploderer, B., Davis, H., Vetere, F., O’Hara, K., Farr-Wharton, G., & Comber, R. (In Press) TableTalk: Integrating Personal Devices and Content for Commensal Experiences at the Family Dinner Table. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2016) [DOI] [PDF]

Ferdous, H. S., Vetere, F., Davis, H., Ploderer, B. & O’Hara, K. (2016). Technologies At Mealtime: Collocated Interactions In The Family Home. In CHI 2016 Workshop on Proxemic Mobile Collocated Interactions. San Jose, USA. [PDF]

Ferdous, H. S., Ploderer, B., Davis, H., Vetere, F., & O’Hara, K. (2015). Pairing Technology and Meals: A Contextual Enquiry in the Family Household. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction (OzCHI 2015) New York: ACM Press, pp. 370–379 [PDF] [DOI]

Ferdous, H. (2015) Technology at Mealtime: Beyond the ‘Ordinary’, In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015), ACM Press, pp. 195–198 [PDF, DOI]