Facebook PixelA system that discourages you from snacking when you reach for food during non-essential meal times
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A system that discourages you from snacking when you reach for food during non-essential meal times

Image credit: LG

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Mar 27, 2022
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If you open the fridge or pantry during times when you're not usually hungry, a message appears on an internal LCD screen that tries to talk you out of eating.
  • Prevent people from damaging their health by snacking out of boredom or to comfort themselves.
  • Help people on diets overcome their moment of weakness.
How it works
A few cameras running facial recognition software cover the entire kitchen. They recognize each household member. The system keeps track of how often each individual reaches for food (fridge, pantry, cupboards).
Deep learning software follows each person for a while to figure out at which times they always reach for food (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Those are considered essential meals. Other times that are random or sporadic are considered non-essential meals.
LCD monitors are mounted on the inside of fridges, pantries, cupboards - where ever food or snacks are stored.
During non-essential times, the LCD screen inside the fridge/pantry plays a message intended to dissuade a person from eating. For example something along this line:
Chances are your brain is hungry for dopamine rather than food. Snacks are an easy way to get a little dopamine but over time result in more damage to your health. There are other easy ways to get some dopamine. For example: (proceed with a list of easy ways).
Optionally, Alexa type voice could try to talk you out of eating in addition to the on-screen attempts.
Creative contributions

Alexa type voice tries to humor you out of snacking

Povilas S
Povilas S Mar 27, 2022
I like the virtual assistant type voice option better than the LCD screen message option. This is because the former is more human-like. Virtual assistants like Alexa can be really good at humor. It seems that people can develop certain relationships with them.
The assistant could approach you from a different angle each time and make the process of deterring you more interesting/fun. It could start with something like "You know very well John, that this is not the first time you're doing it..", etc. When the person would talk something back, the assistant would continue the dialogue and try to tease them out of it or even "threaten": "If you do this, I won't talk to you anymore".
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Learn from pet feeders

Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 28, 2022
I've been working on an idea to automate certain aspects of pet care. Automatic feeders already exist and some of them seem to be quite effective. Some of these might be useful for an idea like this.
For example, instead of using facial recognition software, something similar to this could be used to access containers where snacks are kept. Every person in the house could get a bracelet with a chip, or an access key card, or simply use their own password to open the container.
This could help the system keep track of who it is that is accessing the snacks and potentially even lock someone out once they have reached their quota.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Having to wear extra gear is less user friendly than having to have a face:) Also, typing in your access code requires more effort than showing your face.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 years ago
Darko Savic I agree, but setting up cameras all over your house/kitchen might be very expensive and require quite a complicated installation and configuration process. Codes and keys might be less effective and arguably less user friendly, but ultimately more feasible.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Spook Louw even if it had to be just one camera built into the fridge door (for facial recognition), that would have been more efficient than having to carry access devices or typing an access code.
The convenience of going the extra mile and installing a whole system of cameras pays later when the fridge knows who's approaching and the user doesn't feel any friction in using the service as intended.
The friction (access codes/devices) would have to be used for years. That adds up quickly and becomes a hated feature over time.
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General comments

Aashi Agarwal
Aashi Agarwal2 years ago
This reminds me of Regulsmoke smart box that deters one from smoking by restricting the number of cigarettes one can withdraw from the box per day. One cool feature that could be adapted from Regulsmoke and incorporated into this snacking control system would be to monitor the user's lifestyle and emotional behaviour to regulate their snacking habits. The system could be made more robust by allowing it to track the user's glucose level to help prevent incidents of blood glucose levels dropping between meals due to restricted snacking. Like in case of Regulsmoke where users are categorized under various smoker profiles, here, based on an individuals dietary requirements they can be awarded "snacker profiles" where only some sections of the fridge/pantry are accessible to them at certain times.
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
Nice. The fridge should lock to the person using it outside of permissable hours. The fridge can have a draw on top for snacks and also have automatic locking.
I think that each shelf should be allocated to a person and the amount of food allowed per day inputted on the LCD screen. That way, the fridge can keep track of how much food a person eats daily and recommend adjustments.
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Michaela D
Michaela D2 years ago
Goran Radanovic I like the locking idea. Everything else eventually you will get around.
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