FOOD SPOILAGE DETECTION

UX · Product Design
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A product which can detect and notify the user when food is spoils

Natural food has a lifetime. Cooked and perishable food items such as bread, milk have considerably short life span. Even though other food items may have longer life span, but eventually all start decomposing.

Once food has been harvested, gathered or slaughtered it begins to deteriorate until eventually it becomes unfit for consumption. This deterioration is known as decay and leads to food spoilage. Consumption of spoiled food may cause food poisoning, early detection can also help in food wastage.

Clients

Personal

Time

10 weeks

Team

NA

Role

Project Owner

courtsideApp

Having faced similar problems myself and my flatmates, I found a lot of people around me who would face difficulty in tracking food health and consuming it before it might become stale. This device would not only help them in letting a user know whats the current status of the food but can also notify user by when he should finish the food. However, learning when to consume food will come with machine learning but detecting if food is stale or not can be easily tackled using appropriate sensors.


Since this is more of a global problem following are few products which try to solve it in their own way:


client

Killer paper for next-generation food packaging A material intended for use as a new food packaging material that helps preserve foods by fighting the bacteria that cause spoilage. The paper contains a coating of silver nanoparticles, which are powerful anti-bacterial agents.

Milkmaid smart jug There are three aspects to the Milkmaid. It detects when milk is starting to turn bad, then it informs its owner by changing the colour of its LED lights. In addition the Milkmaid sends a text message to an assigned mobile phone with the status of the milk.

branding client

Food sniffer - PERES It is designed to detect whether a meat product is fresh, whether it is hazardous to health, whether there is a risk of food poisoning, whether it has been left unrefrigerated for some time.

Fast, Accurate Sensor To Detect Food Spoilage Researchers developed a polymer material that raises a red flag, changing colour in the presence biogenic amines, compounds produced by the bacterial decay of food proteins.

branding
Persona persona
"I am really forgetful in general. I keep forgetting about the food stored in the refrigerator, which untimately goes to waste. I wish I could avoid wasting food. "
  • Tech savvy, is a smart phone owner
  • Lives in a shared flat with 3 other roommates
  • All her roommates have different jobs and reach home late
  • Busy office hours
  • Has a cook who cooks dinner everyday
Wants to do
  • I want to stop wasting food.
  • Easier and assured way to see if food has turned bad.
  • I would want to share food status with my roommates.
Doesn't want to do
  • Consume bad food.
Goal Ananya wants to make sure that food stored in fridge hasn't turned bad and is not fit to eat
Design Principles

Design principles and the content prioritisation framework helped to create visibility into my decision-making process and galvanise the team to share in the vision. Content prioritisation helped us in understanding what user actually wants to see first, what are the factors that help them in making decision faster.

  • PortableSo that it can be easily shifted from one utensil/food item to another

  • Strong signifiersClear and strong signifiers to reduce cognitive load

  • ErgonomicsErgonomically well designed to make handling of the product easy and usage of the product intuitive

  • AffordableCost effective so that it is affordable



Opportunity

Developing a product which will let the user know the age of the food and also send reminders when the food is getting wasted/spoiled.

Brainstorming and secondary user research was done in order to understand how a user or system will identify stale food. It gave us an touchpoints which we will later use during ideating concepts.

Concept 1

Ring to record the age of the food & remind the user about stored food. Ring starts the counter as soon as someone places utensil on it. It notifies the user after a threshold time in case the food is unused. Thus reminding the user to consume it or throw it based on the age of the food.

Assumption : User can judge the condition of the food based on its age.

shape

Problems Identified

In the end, this product in itself is not efficient in solving the problem due to many limitations in determining the spoilage of food.

Concept 2

Using gas sensors that can detect spoilage of the food by detecting Ammonia and Hydrogen Sulphide. On spoilage of the food the light indicator changes to indicate that food is spoiled. Along with the light indicator a message to user is also sent on the status of the food. This is portable device and can be used with any kind of container.



shape
Problems Identified with Initial explorations (inside the lid stick ons) Problems Identified with Final Concept
Final Product

For final concept we stuck with gas sensors that can detect spoilage of the food by detecting Ammonia and Hydrogen Sulphide. On spoilage of the food the light indicator changes to indicate that food is spoiled. Along with the light indicator a message to user is also sent on the status of the food. This is portable device and can be used with any kind of container.

shape

Use case scenario shape

Problems solved by this product

Final Product




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(C) Designed & Developed by Abhishek Umrao | 2016