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MyFoodScanner: a mobile application for conscientious consumption based on collective intelligence


Food directly affects the population health and well-being. Although food packages provide information on their ingredients and additives, consumers do not know for sure what they are acquiring. Lots of information are published in social networks; many studies are contradictory; many reports and posts are questionable; many jargons are used; the official classifications of some components are inconsistent; and doctors and nutritionists recommend attention to the consumption of various substances. Allied to this, individuals may have specific restrictions because of dietary needs, diseases, allergies, philosophical beliefs, environmental concerns, etc. In this context, our goal is to develop a mobile collaborative system to collectively generate an aggregated database, easily accessible, that consumers may have at the time they need to make a conscious decision about what to consume. Various research lines are needed to develop this kind of application. In particular, it is necessary an in-depth understanding on what are the information needs that consumers have about the food products they consume, on how a mobile collaborative application can provide such information, on how to promote collaborative filtering of information, and how to properly recognize products and their ingredients. In this project, we aim to conduct scientific and technological research to design and develop a collaborative mobile application to provide this information. In this phase 2 of the project, we are going to develop in the product the features previously defined, adapt the product to other platforms, develop a system to manage the product and its database, produce content to feed the app, internationalize the product, mine national and international sites, develop algorithms for consolidating the information extracted from multiple sources, investigate the use of computer vision techniques to recognize labels, implement a news analyzer, perform usability tests, and make available the product to end-users. As a long-term effect of using this type of system, we expect a greater awareness of healthy eating and lifestyle, a reduction of disease and causalities, a change of attitude of food manufacturers, and faster response of regulatory agencies. We also hope to collect a database that can be explored in future research. (AU)

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