Archive for July, 2011

AP Photo/Sang Tan

Inamo–an Asian-themed restaurant in London’s theater district–has added virtual food to its list of offerings. Essentially a high-tech version of the ever-popular picture menus common in Chinese, Japanese and Thai restaurants, Inamo’s interactive menu allows patrons to order food directly from their tables. The concept is simple, the execution elegant: a projector above your table casts images of menu choices onto a virtual plate (set on a virtual tablecloth, complete with virtual chopsticks) in front of you. When you find one you like, simply tap the touchpad and your order goes directly to the kitchen. The brainchild of Noel Hunwick, he came up with the virtual menu concept while trying to catch a waiter’s eye.

We were desperately trying to attract a waiter’s attention, and we thought: Wouldn’t it be great if we could press a button and get our food?”

You can also use the system to change the tablecloth, check the bill, play Battleship while waiting for your food and even call a cab from the table. And though the inspiration grew out of impatience and picture menus, the virtual menu owes its existence to, yes, videogames. Videogames push existing technology beyond its limits, and drive the development of new, better and faster hardware and software, which can then be adapted to a myriad of uses limited only by one’s imagination. Processor speed, graphics capability, sound, video, animation–all driven by games.

Check out a demo and learn more about e-table here.

Here’s the full article about Inamo.

And you can check out the restaurant’s website here.