Inspiration

This quick-paced world had come to a complete stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The imposed lockdowns hampered many aspects of people's lives, including routine fitness activities of fitness freaks, which has led to a variety of psychological issues and serious fitness and health concerns. According to research, a large percentage of people have reduced their daily physical activity since the lockdown began.

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A survey also showed that since people were working from home, they started eating more junk food in the lockdown thus leading to an overall poor health.

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These were the major factors which inspired us to build this easy to use, multi system compatible application so that our users could track what they are eating in an easy to use manner. They would also get reports so they can analyze their improvement over time and this would keep them motivated in their health and fitness journey.

What it does

My Food Pal is basically a food logger application. During the registration process we ask the basic details of the user to be able to customize the application for them.

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Dashboard

Once the user registers, they can see their dashboard which has details about how many carbs, proteins, carbohydrates etc. they have consumed during the day. This data is represented in the form of pie charts and graphs for ease of interpretation and best user experience. They can also view general stats like how any steps they walked today, how much water they consumed etc.

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Food Scanner

Our key feature is the food scanner. On the mobile application, the user can open their camera and take a picture of whatever they are eating. On the backend, we take the image and first detect which food it is. Next we get the nutritional value of the food and display it to the user. (A similar functionality is implemented in the web version of My Food Pal where the user can upload an image of the food they're eating.)

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Reports and Analysis

Next we have the reports and analysis section. Here we display to the user their monthly stats about their eating habits after analyzing the data which we store when the user takes or uploads an image. We have also displayed daily healthy tips to the user to keep them motivated in their journey towards a healthy lifestyle.

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Maps and Blogs

We have integrated maps into out application which will suggest healthy eating cafes according to their current location. In addition to this, we have added blogs by nutritionists and dieticians that the users can read and advance in their fitness journey.

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Chatbots

User experience is something we greatly value. Hence we have made a simple and elegant UI. To make this even better, we have added a chatbot to help navigate the users throughout the application.

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How we built it

The product is multi system compatible application, where Node JS is used for backend, React JS was used to create the website and React Native was used to develop the mobile app. MongoDB was used for storing the data. Multiple external APIs are used for detection of food and predicting their nutrient values. \ Essentially, the image sent by the user was sent to an external API which performed object detection on the image and classified what food was present in the image. Once we obtained this result, this data was fed to another API which gave us the final output of the nutritional value of the food.

Otherwise we have used various npm packages like react-charts, react-native-chatbot amongst others for the overall implementation of our application.

Challenges we ran into

One of our major obstacles was using multiple APIs, which were dependent on previous APIs. This concept of API chaining created a lot of difficulties but was dealt with after few hours of struggle. Other minor impediments faced were finding food item detection APIs and using them as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our major accomplishment would be the ability of the team to create a mobile app and website to support user experience. The product is created in such a way that it has lot of scope for expansion and can be scaled for a larger audience as well. The application is really open ended, meaning more APIs and data points can be feeded and the product will adapt according to its direction.

What we learned

This project taught us a lot. In terms of technical skills, we got to work with a lot of external APIs and their implementation and integration with our application. Otherwise, as developers we also learned how to work in a team. We also learned problem solving and ideation skills as we came up with this product and its features.

What's next for My Food Pal

Taking My Food Pal to the next level would mean to expand our food dataset, current product only focuses on generalized food items like fruits, meals etc. but on evolving it will be able to focus on Indian meals, different types of street food items, home cooked food as well. Another way of expanding the idea would be to market the product as a social media, people can blog about food health, compete, share recipes, track their friend's progresses and much more.

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