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Mobile App to Reduce Food Wastage

Image credits: singaporetech.edu.sg

Singaporean university students created a mobile app and combined it with an object-recognition device and camera to reduce food wastage through meal planning and keeping tabs on food expiration dates. Food in people’s fridges either often expired or was not well-stored to maintain optimal freshness.

The mobile app employs a two-pronged approach – monitor the freshness of food purchases and provide users with meal planning options to maximise food consumption. Users scan their groceries with the object recognition device attached to the fridge, which then uploads data about the item (its food type, brand and expiry date) onto a cloud-based server accessible through the app. Meanwhile, a camera mounted inside the fridge captures live images of the fridge’s inventory for real-time monitoring.

Food-related responsibilities also often fall on one person in the family, making it a tedious process to track and plan while cooking for the household. With the mobile app, they aim to simplify the entire tracking and planning process – from purchase to consumption – so that everyday users find it easy to reduce food waste at home.

On the app, up to eight users can access the same channel at any one time to plan meals, create grocery shopping lists, and try out recommended zero-waste recipes based on the ingredients in their fridge and their dietary preferences. There is also an element of gamification to ramp up engagement – people can earn points by completing tasks and meeting goals, and these points can be exchanged for food rewards and vouchers.

The app recently earned the team a spot in the Top 15 finalists in Southeast Asia’s Young Designer Award by a Swedish multinational company. This year’s edition saw more than 100 entries by participants from Singapore and Thailand. For aspiring engineers, the competition was a chance to do their part in creating a more sustainable future.

However, the process was not without its challenges. In order to design a product that is both functional and aesthetically marketable, the team worked to reduce redundant functions and features. They also borrowed knowledge from the Design and Manufacture module in their Mechanical Engineering course to design a product from scratch. The team is currently working on refining the app before rolling it out for market testing. Through the app, they also hope to connect more local farms to the masses to support local produce.

Singaporean university students have been creating mobile apps for a variety of purposes such as an app for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singaporean students decided to create a mobile app related to healthcare that can have a huge impact on society.

What began as a student project became an innovative productivity tool that was actually used by doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Initially, the team assumed that their mobile app was meant simply as a school project, but the team did such a great job with it that it was actually implemented by doctors in the Neonatal ICU.

The doctor in charge of the students’ project found the team easy to work with, and incredibly patient with the requests. The team went beyond the call of duty to ensure that the app could be used by doctors. The team worked together on the app for two days a week over a period of about five months, allowing the medical team to pilot test the app for safety before it was rolled out in the Neonatal Department.

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