Chatty Coasters

Chatty Coasters are interactive coasters that listen for silences and insert provocative conversation starters into them.

Chatty Coasters are interactive drink holders that listen for silences in conversation and insert provocative questions into them.

Chatty Coasters

In order to encourage healthy, thought-provoking conversation in kitchens, Chatty Coaster waits for drinkers to rest their cup on it and breaks prolonged silences with a clever, absurd or heartfelt question from a bank of programmed, voice recorded questions. Chatty Coaster can help bring strangers in a shared kitchen become friends, family members unwind and reconnect after a long day or at the very least, foster a meaningful, memorable conversation with your fellow drinkers.

Inspired by the many laughs and surprising thoughts from card games like Taboo & Table Topics and the rich history of coffee houses being the source of radical discourse, Chatty Coaster keeps up a good conversation while keeping your table clean.

Observational Documentation

After observing the social and functional interactions in a variety of kitchens (friends’ and our own apartments, co-ops & International House), we observed the often awkward small talk that was exchanged among people who lived together but weren’t acquainted with each other (“Where are you from?” “What do you study?” “What are you drinking?”) as well as the listless conversation that old roommates had at the end of tiresome days (“How was your day?” “Okay. You?” “Alright.”).

Most of the kitchens we observed had spaces to either sit and drink tea/coffee or stand around with other drinkers (like by the microwave on the counter.)

Brainstorming & Sketches


Brainstorming and lots of post-its produced a wide variety of ideas for devices that could provide a solution to our targeted problem and had the potential to enhance conversation in the kitchen space without being obtrusive or mundane.

Some notable ones: A coaster that identified the drinker to avoid cup mix-ups in conversations, a table that provides topics for dinner conversation

Chatty Coaster evolved as a hybrid from the best of these features.

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