- Dr. Rohit Ashok Khot, RMIT University
- Lois Yi, RMIT University
GustaCine is an innovative cross-modal cinematic experience that allows viewers to experience and savor cinematic moments through the gastronomic pleasures of multi-flavored popcorn.
GustaCine alters the flavors of popcorn in real-time with the use of evocative seasonings. Each seasoning is carefully crafted to respond to emotions represented on screen. Through the unique interplay of flavors and emotions, GustaCine creates an authentic signature of the movie narrative, leading to an enhanced appreciation of food and heightened mindfulness of textures and tastes. The experience contributes to the sustainable food-service design and richer cinema-watching experience.
Popcorn has been an essential and enduring ingredient of the cinematic experience since moving pictures began. Its contribution to cinema’s economic viability has been widely recognized with some saying that its presence has assured an otherwise declining cinema industry. While the value of this iconic item has received limited attention from designers, there is, also, in general, a dearth of innovation in the space of food-cinema service design. GustaCine addresses this gap by delivering a radical culinary interpretation of cinematic moments onto the palate, thereby allowing viewers to literally consume movies in real-time.
Over the last 10 years, the number of people attending cinemas in Australia has dropped by 14% while viewing options at home has increased rapidly—from streaming and HD videos to cable TV. Going by the trend, in the future, cinemas will need to be “much more attentive to changes in people’s taste about what they want from an experience”. 4D and 5D cinemas are examples of active commercial endeavors to address this need. GustaCine builds on this trend by creating an innovative and engaging symbiosis of gastronomic and cinematic experience. Its potential benefits include mindful eating while watching; richer cinematic experience and; a better partnership between food delivery services and media industries.
In contemporary western culture, it is hard to imagine going to cinemas without a tub full of popcorn. Popcorn is easy to make, easy to eat and its distinctively heady aroma makes people want to buy it. However, the act of eating popcorn can occur mindlessly, without much awareness of what is being eaten and how much is being eaten. GustaCine tackles this problem, by offering richer gastronomic pleasures with moderate offerings that direct attention back to what is being eaten.
Additionally, GustaCine’s attractive design encourages reusability through refilling and contributes to sustainable food-service design practices.
Cinema has primarily been a medium for visual and auditory engagement, however, in recent years, various other ways (e.g., 4D, 5D) have been explored to invite and support active audience participation. Despite the economic and cultural significance of eating while watching movies, food technology design has not been widely explored as a means to create immersive cinematic experiences. GustaCine is the first step in this direction. It builds on previous innovations in audience sensory immersion such as Smell-O-Vision and Odorama, both of which achieved cult status. GustaCine extends these precursors by offering gastronomic experiences that merge taste and smell to deliver innovative cinema-going experiences.
Movie Merchandising has long been the economic long tail (from toys through to ship cruises). From Star Wars onwards, branded products and services have offered audiences mechanisms by which to maintain their loyalty while creating unique memorable experiences associated with their cinema-going activities. GustaCine has the potential to offer a completely new class of movie branding and merchandising.
Chefs and cinema artists can contribute to the flavor-emotion mapping and expand the palate of GustaCine to other foods besides popcorn.
GustaCine does not have any loud components that could interfere with the natural course of movie-watching; GustaCine is comfortable to grip and carry. It is made from food-grade plastic and is easy to clean; GustaCine is wireless and battery-operated. All electronics components are covered, preventing any direct contact between parts and food.
GustaCine could be tailored for use in homes, sports arenas, at fairs or theme parks, almost any place where movies and food are enjoyed together.