Fitness trackers today track fitness goals by monitoring activity, exercise, food, weight, sleep – all motivators to stay fit. These wearable devices are like statisticians tracking our activities. Data they collect offer valuable information, but these trackers have very minimal “predictive intelligence” capability to warn us ahead of time about something. For example, if I am allergic to peanuts, it would be beneficial if the wearable device somehow scans and analyzes the food to warn me when traces of peanuts are found. However, the market is now seeing some wearable devices with predictive intelligence, with the ability to scan our environment or what we eat and provide us with proactive valuable information.
I found few companies working on such products. “TellSpec” got my attention (http://tellspec.com). Tellspec is a promising miniaturized food scanner. It is a key chained-sized device which is technically a spectrometer that uses the Texas instrument DLP technology to beam light over food, and reflected light is then captured back and dispersed on micro-mirrors, which produces a digital electronic signal called a spectrum, and when measured it would be the characteristic of the food item. This complex piece of technology has been miniaturized and is very promising, especially for people with food allergies, diabetics and the usual paranoid and worrisome like “yours faithfully.” This device provides instant data to a smart phone. Soon in restaurants when the food arrives you could see people scanning their food to find the ingredients. On the negative side, manufacturing and consuming food will get more complex with multifold increase in “food content” paranoia.
If this food-scanning technology is successful, I predict that this could be extended further and be part of microwave ovens or refrigerators. As the part of Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives, refrigerator manufacturers are developing smart refrigerators, which can then proactively monitor perishable food. Next time you have spoiled milk or eggs in the refrigerator, you would be notified via a smart phone ahead of time. Or just place a (re)order automatically, or schedule an appointment with the cleaning services to dispose of the bad food. This will be a big step in the restaurant industry to manage their perishable inventory more effectively.
More devices with predictive intelligence are around the corner. Here at NTT DATA, we are already prototyping various accelerators and frameworks to aid, support, and manage predictive intelligence and IoT-related business use cases.