Cooking Up a Remix

Designing Software and Hardware to improve our health, cost and creativity in relation to food consumption

Through the culture of making and inventing for everyone, I am exploring the use of Arduino to produce remote wireless indexing of consumers food purchases through barcode scanning which is then collated using bespoke software through MAX/msp Runtime. From this bespoke ‘Food Monitor’ (working title) software the food is indexed to create a digital archive of every food item and/or liquid and cross-referenced with a database to determine the fat, salt, energy of each individual item. Through user input of scanning items used, the software can calculate your meal’s quantities for salt etc and keep a running log throughout the week to show your total intakes. It will also cross reference recipes to present meal ideas/suggestions based on what you have purchased as well as suggest their locations such as fridge, cupboard, freezer. It is hoped to make the cooking process simpler as the user will definitely have the ingredients necessary or it will inform of the missing ingredient, improve health so users are more aware of their levels of salt etc intake and for future developments help devise shopping lists based on individual users habits of purchases, with options to enable ordering online.

Part of Food Monitors aim is to help reduce waste so recipes can be prioritised according to products that are perishables that users can work with. The hardware is relatively cheap, the software should be relatively small in size, and just requires a laptop, although the aim is to run from a Raspberry Pi. With further development and improving database of specific food products health details it would be able to improve eating habits, reduce waste and encourage people to cook basic recipes.

This project is still in development but a minimal correlation between scanned items and recipes has been realised to determine the health details for each recipe and what ingredient is still required for particular recipes.

Read the published journal article at Making Futures, Presented there in Sept 2015.

Cooking up a Remix: Investigating the use of Max MSP graphical programming environment to develop a new software design



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