This is the end, the user walkthrough of our system – thanks to all our survey participants, interview participants, people who put up with our mess all over the Design Lab (we will now begin the process of cleaning it all up).



Wireframes + Prototypes

Step8 - UI Sketches




Frederik and Ronan began to develop the wireframes (as Liz was thoroughly burnt out by this stage). Ronan then began work on the actual prototype which can be seen here 

And here are some screenshots:

We would have liked to have tested our concept a little bit more however – with time permitting- and consulting with our interviewees, we realised getting decent user feedback was probably not going to happen within the time frame. However – they seemed to get the concept and were extremely keen, in particular, after consulting with Ms X and others with dietary restrictions, it seems that highly personalised convenience food is a concept that generates a lot of excitement. We would not be surprised if 3D food printing took off (especially in the event of the sugar and gluten free diets becoming more fashionable and widespread) this would become an extremely lucrative food market very quickly.




Defining the User Tasks

Step7 - Task Analysis


We performed a task based analysis to really get an idea of how our participants would interact, as currently, obviously, no one without a great deal of knowledge knows how to work a 3D printer properly.

To construct an appropriate interface, we sat down and considered all the touch points, motivations, emotions and features our users would encounter during their potential user scenarios whilst using this hypothetical system.

Planning Stage

We decided that in the planning stage the user would enter their weight, height and the system would calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI) in order to adequately determine an appropriate calorie intake followed by dietary restrictions before suggesting recipes and a meal plan to them.

Fun/Sharing Stage

In this stage we assigned users the tasks of actually using the 3D printing technology in order to print elaborate shapes of vegetables etc. to make them more interesting, or otherwise construct their own meals like a LEGO version of creating food. There are also features that allow the user to adjust for less salt or otherwise just passively print the food if they’re happy with what the system has suggested. In this stage we explicitly target users like Hailey to create recipes using the system, which will alert her to when she might be in danger of contaminating her food with allergens and allow her to save it. We envision that users like Damo and Margret will then use Hailey’s recipes and rate them as they are not typically interested in creating their own.

Information/Performance Stage

In this section the user can evaluate their progress with a dashboard, which assigns badges, leader boards, and scheduling meals and events around activities such as gym training and adjusting the calorie intake following a muscular workout for example. This section is to accommodate Damo, and Margret who would wish to track their progress and receive positive reinforcement. They can also export this information to their mobile or tablet to amend their diet plans remotely.

User Personas






Process1 Process2  Process4  Step5 - Initial Concept Step6 - Personas B Step6 - Personas


From our in depth interviews, three clear User Personas emerged:

Hailey, 19

This persona based around the problems that were identified in the first interview with Ms X, and a couple of survey responses. Her problems relate to the users with allergies and other dietary restrictions that prevent an anxiety-free diet. She is afraid of trying new foods that aren’t specifically labelled for her needs and often this leads to gastrointestinal distress.

Damo, 27

Damo is based around Mr X and Mr Y, he is primarily motivated by task-based food intake unconcerned by the source of the food, nor the methods by which it was produced so long as the effects of both his exercise training program and diet are apparent in a short period of time. He is also unable to afford regular nutritionist appointments despite vigorous training.

Margret, 38

Margret is based on a single mother’s interaction with her children, and how to encourage healthy habits with her children with playful food design technology.

User Research – Interviews and the Emergence of the Personas

Over Skype and Liz’s Mobile Phone we conducted a couple of interviews using the Critical Incident Technique about positive times they have had with dieting … 

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iPad on a MacBook Pro…. Steve Jobs please send us down some good vibes.



  • Some people don’t give a damn about what the food is, pack it full of nutrients and they’ll consume it
  • Others are more picky, they need to make sure their food is from safe sources as they have problems preventing cross contamination with other food stuffs and have to trust food labelling although they let things slide for the sake of convenience
  • Allergies/Intolerances and health issues are a major motivator of diet change


Ms X

– 24 years old, Coeliac, Sydney AU, Part Time Employed at 2 different jobs

– Had to attempt the Elimination Diet as a teenager to ascertain what was causing her symptoms (Coeliac disease symptoms are aggravated by the gluten protein in wheat).

– Several barriers in finding the ideal nutrition- nutritionists were super expensive, she mostly learnt what food was good from going to places on the internet

– She was trying to gain weight, but due to lack of information, and dairy intolerance, her two main sources of fat were avocados and coconut milk (Coeliac is often associated with severe weight loss)

– First 6 months of diet was hard, smell was very important as she was often tempted by sausage rolls especially, until she found some good alternatives, but this took time. She is often lazy because of this, ignoring the gluten warnings about soy sauce, if she has only a little bit each week she can effectively control her symptoms.

– She was motivated by physical restrictions (wanting to avoid vomiting everywhere) and fearing the side effects of malnutrition

– She now only tries new food serendipitously, buys anything with a Gluten Free label on it (being able to now withstand some dairy). She (unlike our survey respondents) is less likely to splurge and try some new food at a restaurant because there is a sizeable risk of cross contamination of food stuffs

– When she is feeling like she wants to indulge, she will only seek safe sources that are trusted, reluctant to use those that are new (and might therefore suck and not know how to correctly handle the delicate balance of gluten free flour mixes, thinking they might just be straight replacements)

– Loves the idea of a 3D printer for her food stuffs as special dietary food is extremely expensive and is risky in terms of whether it’s edible or not. Wants to experience the joys of easy hangover food that she can eat!


Mr Y

26 year old International Student in Scandinavia, Unemployed.

– Diet modifications were mainly made out of concern due to family health background (a mix of eating disorders affecting the females of his family, and obesity affecting the men). Has noticed metabolism isn’t as good as it used to be.

– Weight did stabilise, but this was also affected by environment. Australian cafe food is wide and varied whereas in his university it is not and it’s very expensive ($25 for cake and coffee is unheard of even in Sydney) forcing him to cook at home, mainly frozen meals as there is not a large amount of seasonal foods available. Sweden also has a carbon tax which prevents him being able to afford large amounts of imported fresh produce. Liz offered to send him Tony Abbott to help him out.

– He won’t try new foods as he doesn’t often know what to do with them and it isn’t worth the financial risk (which was repeated in our survey data) and will only incorporate new food or techniques once it has been shown to him at a dinner party for example.

– We showed him the pictures from the previous survey, he hated the look of the 3D printed “shit biscuits”, commented that he was in favour of Soylent (a supplement drink) even though the taste is somewhat horrible. Bacon and eggs was his favourite picture, very simple.

– Very open to new technology, doesn’t believe in organic produce saving the world, believes we need to develop new ways to nourish ourselves adequately and is in favour of sacrificing taste for nutrients. Can be swayed by the exoticism of 3D printing in order to invest

Mr Z

21 year old IT Student, part time tech support in Sydney.

– No real positive diet experience. Went on a diet to gain weight in order to bulk up muscle but wanted to do it cheaply, he canvassed many forums on the internet until he found one that could give him a straight information sheet or require a gym that he followed for a month before his studies overcame his desire to follow the exercise and meal plan.

– In order to provide the prerequisite protein needed, he ate one 250 g bag of peanuts each day. When Liz pressed him on this, having been told by a nutritionist once that almonds have more protein in terms of carbohydrate. Mr Z refuted this, but claimed he didn’t care anyway as he REALLY dislikes the taste of almonds. When Ro pressed him about this he interestingly claimed that he “wouldn’t care if it was just a gel or puree”.

– When presented with the pictures he was the only one we had ever asked who actually preferred the photoshopped apple because “it’s an apple, I know what I’m getting, I don’t like to try new food, the last time I tried a new food was probably an oyster, and that was because I was with friends in a restaurant. And also it was an oyster”

– Stopped his diet also out of lost confidence, didn’t think his plan was working and abandoned it. Bill? $75 on dumbbells of 20 kg from Rebel sport.

User Research – Survey and Initial Results


  • Our survey reached 15 participants, mostly garnered from our Facebook, the youngest was 20, the eldest was 35, with almost all having some kind of post secondary education.
  • We initially allowed participants to rank some images, one photoshopped apple in the shape of a cube, a couple take from molecular gastronomy (an experimental approach to cooking), and a couple of 3D printed images.
  • We opted for qualitative research methods (sorry, no pretty graphs here)
  • What we had missed was asking our respondents why they liked a particular food image the most, as interestingly, they rated the sandwich as being the most attractive, despite the 3D apparatus being in the background.
  • Followed closely behind it was the highly irregular looking jelly strawberry which is far from natural looking.
  • We decided to conduct closer User Interviews over Skype. 
  • Otherwise the most interesting responses mainly concerned the fact that the respondant had to overcome major hurdles to reach their goal, and others gave up when it became inconvenient to their social life
  • Also – parental pressure to enter an extreme diet was something we’d never considered
  • You can find the survey link here

The images to be rated!

User Research – Planning – Setting the Goal Posts

Step4 - User Research MapRonan and Liz developed this mindmap to highlight the goals of the user research developed from an intial mindmap of Ronan’s that highlighting hypotheses of where this application might go. It is a well assumed fact that social connection plays a role in the decision making of food – and that self reporting of understanding and reading nutrition labels can be somewhat dodgey.



We wanted to find out the following from our participants

  • Their current behaviours surrounding variety in their food intake – where they might be open to 3D printed foods
  • Can they even tell if it’s 3D printed or not if shown in the right way – or presented nicely?
  • The role of social – is it motivators in the change of diet?
  • Can the role of convenience in keeping or breaking a diet be understated?!
  • What information do people seek, if any?

We particularly wanted to pay attention to anyone that might have gone on a Low Glycaemic Index or Plant Based diet in regards to Type II Diabetes management as this corresponded well to the brief as its symptoms can be triggered by some carbohydrate consumption and plant based diets have been found to help bring diabetes under control.


Brainstorming – Initial Refinement (Mindmap, Affinity Diagram, Product Ideas)

We summarised the 3D food aspects as follows from our research

Step1 - Food printing mindmap

(Yes, we’re quite aware that ‘meat’ is spelled wrong, but this photo is too nice)

Next Steps – Who to focus on?

As you will have noticed from our previous blog post, we sort of ran wild seeing all sorts of academia and media out there surrounding 3D food printing, wanting to break free, somewhat, from all the media given to use from the OZCHI organisers.

Affinity Diagram

Step2 - Affinity Mapping

Ronan directed us to make a list of all the potential problems we foresaw in order to access the best user group with the best potential right now. He pushed us not to think of the potential mechanical problems that might occur (exhaust, chemical contamination from a new and somewhat thoroughly untested method of food production). These ideas stood out:

  • Edible QR codes – are people really interested in the journey of their food and food sustainability?
  • Where the opportunities lie – gamification, a potential way of building a new relationship to food in the future currently not explored? Unnatural?
  • Customized food intake – is that something people are interested in?
  • How can we better integrate this into technology that we currently possess to make it relevant?

Potential Products

Step3 - Product Ideas


Here we explored how we would explore ideas and why, it had to be relevant to a user group in need right now. Although Liz wanted to focus on a combined experience that students might use in dorms so they wouldn’t have to think about their nutrition, Frederik and Ronan were in favour of a broader user scope so that we might explore the issues involved in “users wishing to change their diet”.

What we learned

  • Neatly summed up the potential benefits and problems associated with 3D printing of food that aren’t restricted to technological challenges that could be overcome in the next 5 years or so.
  •  Closer to a core user group but there are still questioned to be answered – we could dream up scenarios where this might be advantageous, but who would actually want custom made food if their current solutions may actually work just fine?


  • User research! Who are these people who ‘want to change their diet’ and what do they need? What could 3D printing give to them?


Initial Brainstorming – How does 3D Printing Work Consumer Side For Users?

The next part we decided to investigate was how could we impact society in beneficial ways with the 3D printer. As following our initial discovery with the algae, we decided to keep exploring highly localised problems that 3D printing could help with in order to get more nutrients through vegetable and fruit produce to consumers, who presumably, when this technology becomes viable, will be in in highly urbanised environments.


Biozoon creates pureed foods for the elderly that are highly personalised and 3D printed. However… the presentation is… not super fantastic?

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Interesting Problems That This Poses

This is food that is gel and disguised, almost, as if it is not what it is – highly medicated supplements. Disguising food in other food is especially prevalent in childhood as they are encouraged to eat healthily but often display reluctance. It has been shown however, that rewarding children with junk food, or disguising it within other food, however, is not conducive to fostering a positive relationship with healthy food.

Children and Individuals – Why Not?

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Although conducted for non edible 3D printing and in a classroom setting with older children, it was shown in a Greek study that people that learnt through the use of 3D printing to explore concepts for themselves (Kostakis 2014). Interactivity also allows the story of food preparation to become more compelling which might allow users to have better experiences with food (Wei et al. 2012), allowing satisfaction, which could foster better relations between parents and children if children are given more autonomy to explore their food choices within safe confines or their parents guidance.


If food was not disguised to look like something else – but rather it was acknowledged to be 3D printed – would that allow people to be more creative in playing with it? Would children be more comfortable eating their vegetables if they had some degree of choice over something that usually they dislike a lot?

It’s possible to bring this consumer side as using a novel combination of gums and gelatin, flavours and agents, a broad range of foods can be simulated with few materials, but it is critical that this technology comes down in price and remains open source like the Fab@Home (Cohen et al 2009). Custom made attractive foods are created by highly paid and highly skilled artisans but 3D printing can bridge that gap (Periard et al. 2007).


  • Should presentation be super awesome and that affect how it works?
  • What are all the potential problems and benefits that can arise from this?
  • What is our core user group and their needs?


Academic References

Cohen, Daniel L., et al. “Hydrocolloid printing: a novel platform for customized food production.” Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium. 2009.

Kostakis, Vasilis, Vasilis Niaros, and Christos Giotitsas. “Open source 3D printing as a means of learning: An educational experiment in two high schools in Greece.” Telematics and Informatics (2014).

Periard, Dan, et al. “Printing Food.” Proceedings of the 18th Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin TX. 2007.

Wei, Jun, and Adrian David Cheok. “Foodie: play with your food promote interaction and fun with edible interface.” Consumer Electronics, IEEE Transactions on 58.2 (2012): 178-183.


Initial Brainstorming – Food Security and MRE’s

We began our OZCHI24 2014 Journey with just myself and Ronan as Frederik kindly was trying to USB stick for the actual paper printer (oops).

What Liz Thinks the Future of 3D Printing Will Be Like

Mostly we thought hard and wide about the problem, thinking of all the possible applications. We wrote these down on pages and windows of the Honours student office at the University of Sydney Design Lab.

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The UN Development Goals and Food Security

Liz was primarily concerned with the fact 3D printing might be used to disguise the taste of certain foods that actually might be more sustainable, part of a long term solution for sustainable agriculture that would see a decline in the problems associated with monocultures. Monocultures are one of the reasons postured as a threat to future food security as they more vulnerable to disease but with the dominance of western culture and tastes spreading the potential fallout from the loss of local knowledge around the world is great (Fralin 2011). Suggestions have been made to limit these effects and food shortages, such as eating insects. Also, 3D printing has been used in the case of algae to create superfoods intended for highly urbanised environments of the future.

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In the end, this didn’t offer much insight into solving the design brief, as it particularly asked for fruits and vegetables and increased consumption. But then Liz and Ro optioned another idea.

Printing in a Crisis: A possible user case of MRE’s 

After reading the suggested reading concerning the military deployment of MRE 3D printing machines for soldiers in order to cater to highly specific needs with possible high caloric intake- then why not refugees in camps that might have deficiency needs, plus need food with a very long shelf life that can be readily moved? This would also be ideal in situations where it is hard to ship large amounts of ‘staple’ ingredients. Anjan Contractor, who is the engineer for the NASA project on 3D printing (also referenced by the challenge brief) has already floated this idea. It would be an incredible service design challenge, but probably not readily testable for the confines of the OZCHI24 challenge, sadly.

The 3D Printed Pizza by Anjan Contractor, which might be viable in 10 years for NASA Astronauts

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What did we take away from this?

  • Creating 3D printing programs for highly localised solutions is highly feasible
  • 3D printing makes it very possible to highly personalise your nutritional intake specific to a user’s needs

Where are we going?

  • Who needs this right now that we can test on?
  • How might they use it and why?
  • Would they even find this appealing?
  • People already fail on diets all the time if they’re trying to nourish themselves properly purely out of temptation, what could make this technology more than a really expensive type of Weight Watchers?
  • How to avoid the privacy issue, ‘nanny state’ problem that could arise from monitoring users’ food intake.


  • An examination of the potential of exploring eating disorders (dysphagia etc)
  • Using 3D Printing to our advantage to make things not look… unappealing to say the least!
  • Will Liz lose her patience with Frederik snapping pictures of her with his DSLR? WHO KNOWS?


Academic References:

Fralin, Sara. “The Value of Diversity in Creating Food Security and Maintaining Food Sovereignty.” On Politics 5.1 (2011).