Last June, we were excited to get the go ahead to explore our project of passion, “Project SmartKitchen“. The connected devices group at Mozilla is taking a “lean” approach to developing products that solve consumer problems. Because many of us find ourselves in the same, stressful situation each day, wondering “What’s for dinner?”, we chose to start in the kitchen.
As a busy parent, I get asked this question on a daily basis by at least four people. It really irritates me when I don’t have an answer. It’s even more irritating when I know I have tons of food in my kitchen (from that last trip to Costco!) and can’t come up with anything to feed my family. The initial concept of Project SmartKitchen is really about uncovering the many recipes that are ready and waiting to be cooked in your kitchen with the ingredients on hand. I know that there are many more exciting and tasty combinations of my current kitchen inventory than I can come up with in my head.
Another goal of the project is reducing waste. We want to explore ways to use the food in your kitchen before it spoils. In the United States alone, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted.1 It’s not only our hard earned money that we are throwing away, but it’s also unsustainable for the planet.
Our initial research seems to point to the fact that people typically kind of know what’s in their kitchen, but they don’t have creative ideas or time to come up with meals. Fussy eating and dietary restrictions were also listed as barriers to making meals.
What we are focusing on right now is really validating that people will be interested to use a solution that provides recipes based on existing inventory. We are doing this via Facebook concept ads, a YouTube Video, and surveys. In parallel, the technical team is exploring image recognition to understand what percentage of food items we can recognize via this method. We may explore other avenues as well including barcode and RFID. The clear technical challenge of this project is to identify the inventory.
Stay tuned as we update further with our technical challenges and our concept video (coming soon).