Technology at Table – How to hack Consumers’ Senses

Prof. Charles Spence, University of Oxford

In this session, Prof. Charles Spence discusses the future of technology at table. He demonstrates how some of the latest ideas/innovations from the Formula 1 of the Kitchen (think Michelin-starred, and San Pellegrino-listed,
chefs/restaurants) are starting to make their way to the mainstream via multisensory experiential tasting, think Sensorium/Sensploration-like theatrical, storytelling, events, as well as via sensory apps. Charles explains how consumer behaviour, be it in the context of the restaurant/bar, or anywhere else for that matter, is influenced by the senses, no matter whether we are aware of these cues or not (and mostly, the evidence suggests that we are not). We will see how the insights concerning the fundamentally multisensory nature of human perception offer a number of exciting actionable opportunities to ‘hack’ the consumer’s senses. Finally, Charles summarizes some of the latest attempts to elicit extraordinary emotional experiences (such as ASMR-like responses) by means of technology as well as by building on the synaesthesia-like crossmodal correspondences between the senses that reside in us all.