NUTRIMETER

 

BACKGROUND

Nutrition labeling became mandatory by Health Canada for all prepackaged foods on December 12, 2007. This means that all food companies have to include nutrition labeling on their prepackaged foods (www.hc-sc.gc.ca).

The current system is not a very effective one since:

1- It only covers a few categories which in most cases only shows about 10 core nutrients (Calories, Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, Protein, Vitamins A and C, Calcium and Iron).

2- Values are depicted based on a certain portion of the prepackaged food, therefore a level of math is required by the user to calculate the exact percentage of the nutrients intake.

3- For some of the nutrients in these charts, a daily value (DV) below 5% is considered little/low and a DV higher than 15% is considered a lot (a bit confusing comparing to the 0-100% scale).

4- The daily values are based on general public’s profile and do not accommodate people with special dietary needs/health conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NUTRIMETER

Nutrimeter is a wearable technology that enables users to retrieve detailed information about prepackaged foods and their nutrition values.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(above: Nutrimeter is showing nutrition values in different categories–more categories are accessible by swiping the screen down. Above the allowed/average nutrient values (based on the users’ profile) are shown in red. Marginal nutrient values are shown in orange. Nutrients values which do not follow the 0-100% scale have min/max indicators–blue vertical lines.)

 

HARDWARE

Nutrimeter is a wearable gadget (usually worn on one’s wrist) with a small screen that is equipped with a 2D barcode/marker scanner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(above: users can easily enter the portion weight of the food they are about to enjoy. Depending on the scanned marker, measurement unit switches between grams, millilitres, and pieces).

 

USER INTERFACE

There are three parts to the UI:

1- Detailed information about the product, covering all the nutrient categories.

2- System alerts users if they have exceeded their maximum daily intake of a certain nutrient based on the users’ profile (age, weight, gender, lifestyle, etc.). System can also track/keep record of users’ weekly or monthly intake of a certain nutrient.

3- System alerts users with special dietary needs. These dietary needs and settings could be specified by the users as part of their user profile and/or by their family physician who has access to their user profile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(above: Nutrimeter is showing a graph, depicting Cholesterol intake of the user on daily basis. Gray line: amount of Cholesterol taken in a specific day of the month. Blue line: average intake. Red line: goal based on the user’s profile).

 

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

1- To keep the production costs as low as possible, the current version of Nutrimeter retrieve its data from an internal data storage which is updated every time the user charges the gadget with their personal computer. Future versions could take advantage of wireless technologies to provide the most up-to-date data/information.

2- For people with special dietary needs, Nutrimeter can suggest and/or order remedies (that could be purchased at local drug stores) to control/reduce the negative effects of certain nutrients/food groups.

3- Nutrimeter can suggest alternate (healthier) nutrition choices based on the users’ profile, goals, location and availability of comparable products.

4- Nutrimeter markers could also be integrated in fresh food markets to expand the usability of this system beyond prepackaged foods (below).

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