Playing with your digestive tract

InsideOut is a playful system based on an imaging capsule system, supporting players to play with their digestive tract.

Ingestible sensors are devices that perform sensing or actuating functions inside the user’s body. Current research around ingestible sensors mainly focuses on the medical benefits of such devices. We believe there is an opportunity to explore the experiential aspects of ingestible sensors. To explore this. We designed HeatCraft, a two-player system that generates localized thermal stimuli where the intensity is based on the user’s body temperature measured by an ingestible sensor. Similar to open-ended games, HeatCraft allows players to decide when and what to do in order to know more about their body, facilitating playful experiences of exploration and discovery.

We conducted an in-the-wild study with 16 participants to understand the user experience of HeatCraft. The results showed that the overall experience with HeatCraft was intriguing and playful. The system increased players’ awareness about their body, their daily activities, and the environment. Ultimately, HeatCraft stepped towards the integration of play and life. By reflecting on the design process and the study results, we proposed eight strategies serving as a starting point for designing playful experiences around ingestible sensors. More broadly, this project opens up new possibilities of facilitating the integration of body and technology to blur the boundary between play and life.


Li, Z., Wang, Y., Sheahan, J., Jiang, B., Greuter, S., Mueller, F. InsideOut: Towards an Understanding of Designing Playful Experiences with Imaging Capsules. Designing Interactive Systems Conference. DIS 2020. Long paper. ACM. 1-13. BEST PAPER HONORABLE MENTION.

Li, Z, Sheahan, J., Wang, Y., Greuter, S., Mueller, F. InsideOut: Playing with Real-time Video Images of the Gastrointestinal Tract via Imaging Capsules. CHI PLAY '19 Extended Abstracts. ACM, New York, NY, USA. 2019.

Press Coverage

InsideOut has been widely published in media including Herald Sun and Channel 7.