Coffee Cup Reading as an Inspiration for Looking into Augmented Mugs in Social Interaction

Augmented mugs are mostly used as non-interactive displays showing images, or providing information about the liquid content. However, there has not been sufficient research on what kind of affordances mugs could offer as tangible interfaces and how people might use them in face-to-face social settings. To fill this gap, we examined Turkish coffee fortune-telling, a socio-cultural practice based on deliberate physical interaction with coffee cup for reading and creating stories out of coffee ground shapes. First, we organized coffee cup reading sessions with 18 fortune-tellers whose analysis yielded 11 characteristics reflecting user behavior with cups. A follow-up cross-cultural study served as a first step for understanding the potential generalizability of these findings. Our main contribution consists of the characteristics we derived and the related potential interaction techniques we discuss for augmented mugs with an inner display. We also contextualize our findings by two scenarios in which the mug is used as a tangible interface in social interaction settings.



The figures below illustrate the characteristics reflecting user behavior with cups, and scenarios, that we derived from the fortune-telling sessions.

Illustrations by Çağlar Genç.

Ahmet Börütecene, İdil Bostan, Gülben Şanlı, Çağlar Genç, Tilbe Göksun, and Oğuzhan Özcan. 2017. Coffee Cup Reading as an Inspiration for Looking into Augmented Mugs in Social Interaction. In Design, User Experience, and Usability: Understanding Users and Contexts (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), 199–218.