HeatCraft is a two-player system that uses an ingestible sensor to measure the users’ body temperature and employs thermal stimuli to provide feedback.

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 helped step towards the integration of play and life. By reflecting on the design process and the study results, we propose 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.


Mueller, F., Matjeka, L., Wang, Y., Andres, J., Li, Z., Marquez, J., Jarvis, B., Pijnappel, S., Patibanda, R., Khot, R. “Erfahrung & Erlebnis”: Understanding the Bodily Play Experience through German Lexicon. TEI 2020. Long paper. ACM. Talk video.

Li, Z., Wang, Y., Wang, W., Chen, W., Hoang, T., Greuter, S., Mueller, F. HeatCraft: Designing Playful Experiences with Ingestible Sensors via Localized Thermal Stimuli. CHI 2019. Long paper. ACM. Video.

Li, Z., Chen, W., Wang, Y., Hoang, T., Wang, W., Boot, M., Greuter, S., Mueller, F. HeatCraft: Playing with Ingestible Sensors via Localised Sensations. CHI PLAY 2018.Work-in-progress. ACM.


We thank Kyle Berean and Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh from RMIT’s School of Engineering for giving us plenty of advice and we also thank Patrick Baudisch for support. We also thank everyone who helped with the video and the development and design.

Press coverage

HeatCraft: Designing Playful Experiences with Ingestible Sensors via Localized Thermal Stimuli. Medium.