For the to-be-moms and expecting around the world, managing diet and knowing what is healthy can be stressful to manage. According to the Journal of Physiology, what a mother eats during pregnancy can have long-term effects on a child's health, if ill-managed, can link to later health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When researching this idea, we found a lot of mental well-being apps and baby heart-rate monitors, but (in the time we were given to research and ideate) couldn't find an app that really tackled the food and dietary concerns many moms have (although we are certain there are some out there). So we set off on a journey to collect data and use it for this purpose.
Our app is designed to make the lives of expecting moms a little easier, and give their babies a healthy meal. We hope it can reduce the amount of things they need to worry about as well as be a helping hand for those who want to learn more about food and how it affects their baby. We want to empower some of the strongest women we know in supporting their children and themselves.
What it does
With our app Food-Baby pregnant women can access it easily through their phone or computers web browser. We give moms two options to input their food, either upload an image or type in the search bar.Then, our Google Cloud Vision API identifies single ingredients as well as dishes to inform the mom on what possible foods can be in a dish. Food-Baby will then let you know if these foods are safe to have during pregnancy, as well as give key nutritional details about the food. The nutritional food aspects, was taken from articles and cross-checked sources, and appears under the food item once clicked into it. We also clearly colour coded each result (green being good, red being bad, yellow being neutral -- such that mums can quickly scroll through items and if they want to learn more, click into them).
We hope to enhance our data base and, if this app is to continue in the future, work with medical professionals to review and enhance what we've done here.
Doctors and medical professionals often give out meal plans and nutritional advice, so as an aide to that, we hope this app can help in the situations when a dish might contain many ingredients or when it's unclear whether or not a certain food belongs in a certain category/is good for the baby. A pocket side-kick.
A little story: one of our member's moms once found out from a television show that a certain ingredient in a certain type of curry was harmful (she doesn't remember what the ingredient was anymore, as it's been multiple years). At the time, she had found out from a TV show, but what if she had not found out and ate it without knowing the negative side affects some -- seemingly natural and harmless foods -- can have on a baby in the womb?
Our app aims to continue to open up a discussion about these aspects that women (and their partners) have to deal with during pregnancy. This is not to say our app is a one stop solution -- there are many alternatives out there that probably also take a unique approach to solving these concerns.
How we built it
We built our app using React, Firebase and Nodejs for backend. The backend team created our own database for the purpose of this app. For our food identifier we used the Google Vision API, which picks up on single ingredients as well as multiple (in a dish). For demo purposes and time constraints we only showed it identifying one ingredient, however listing and having multiple ingredients to select from is our future goal.
We also used Figma, Bootstrap, HTML/CSS and Styled Components for the UI/UX. The graphics were hand drawn and the icons were sourced from flaticon.com.
Challenges we ran into
Hooking up all our technologies together to work in a seamless pipeline was the biggest challenge we ran into. Also managing our time zones (grateful for the team staying up so late just to get things working). When the buttons clicked and the database was linked, we were really relieved and happy!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of putting together a project is functional for moms around the world. Although there are definitely bits to work on and refine, we're happy to have stuck to an idea we were passionate about and make it happen.
What we learned
Many of us were new to the technologies that we used for this app. It was our first time working with the Google Vision API and Firebase database.
For the UI/UX'ers, we learned about Bootstrap and StyledComponents (it was also our first time using some of these).
What's next for Food Baby
We want to be able to cross-check our sources and have a more reliable database for foods. Also, on for UI/UX, refining the pages a bit more and adding a “recommended/popular searches” page.
We still want to add more detail for food descriptions: such as recommended daily amounts, recommended cooking methods, etc. to make sure to-be-moms are informed with as much as we can put in.