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Stardust

Self care Mindfulness Latte art

Self-care, in simplest terms, means caring for one’s own well-being, which includes not just the body but also the mind. While we can take care of the body by following a proper exercise, diet, and personal hygiene routine, it is comparatively difficult to nourish and nurture the mind. Art activities, spending time in nature, gardening and coloring are some proven ways to improve our psychological wellbeing. We have developed Stardust to encourage people to indulge in self-care routine.

Stardust is a carefully crafted multi-sensory spice kit in which users engage themselves in art practice of creating Latte art and delighting their drink with attractive patterns and unique spice flavor. The kit contains a set of dotted pattern cards and a secret set of 9 spices. The user engages with the kit by poking holes in the pattern card to reveal a unique art and a number that guides the user to a secret spice from the box. The user then places the poked pattern card over a favorite hot coffee or tea, and gently sprinkles the secret spice over it, thus serendipitously finds the spice and the punched pattern. The user can then enjoy the outcome of this activity - a personalized latte art, featuring a visual representation of a unique spice, coupled with its aroma that makes the coffee more flavorful.


Made with by Rohit Ashok Khot, Jung-Ying (Lois) Yi, & Deepti Aggarwal

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Research Publications

Coming soon.

Stardust in action.

Provocative.

Self-care is something we all desire yet it is also something we easily forget. Self-care means caring for one’s own well-being, which includes not just the body but also the mind. While we can take care of the body by following a proper exercise, diet, and personal hygiene routine, it is comparatively difficult to nourish and nurture the mind. The importance of dedicating time to pursue a hobby, or to have quality time without thinking of work and other responsibilities are generally undervalued and dismissed as a waste of time. Caring for self is often associated with luxury spas, weekend trips or long vacations closer to nature. In everyday routine, short art-making activities such as adult coloring books have seen a wider uptake and studies show their usefulness to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms. Besides mobile apps like Headspace and Calm also help people to find moments of tranquility. However, these activities feel standalone or alienated from our everyday routine, and people may struggle to dedicate time to these additional activities. With Stardust, we introduce a new domain of self-care activities that offer the benefits of stimulating our gustatory and olfactory senses through art and food. Stardust redefines the everyday practice of preparing coffee as a meditative multisensory art experience. Art making is a popular way of self-care, where the creative process of art-making offers psychological benefits. Through Stardust, we hope to inspire future experiences that can weave self-care in our everyday mundane routine in a more simplistic and engaging way.

Grounded.

Stardust has been developed by an in-house team of industrial designers and computer scientists with expertise in digital health and interaction design. The design of Stardust took more than six months to complete and involved multiple iterations. While creating a toolkit for everyday routine, it was important for us to strike a balance between designing a too easy and too complex activity. For instance, the activity should offer enough structure so that users do not feel overwhelmed but it should also be challenging enough to sustain user’s interest and promote a state of mindfulness. Consequently, Stardust offers the making of latte art through pattern cards. To support attention in the present moment, we took inspiration from the learning-based coloring books like The Anatomy Coloring book and introduced learning about the popular coffee spices in our design. As a result, instead of simply creating abstract shapes with Stardust, users create and learn more about the spices through the visual representations on the patterned card. We also paid special attention to the design of the poking mechanism so that users are not overwhelmed by the number of dots on the pattern card to create a pattern, however participating in the poking activity does require attention in the present moment. Stardust supports non-judgmental acceptance of the art form as it is not linked with any personal data of users. The fact that latte art is perishable, that is it lasts only for a couple of sips, was instrumental in seeking and supporting a non-judgemental acceptance for this activity. There is no dependency on the latte art for a user to enjoy a coffee and a coffee without latte art still tastes good. This independence or agency is important for making an activity mindful as the users are not forced to do it everyday.