App idea #512: TORCH

The background.

Recently I’ve been looking into what I eat. I haven’t really changed my diet at all, but it’s interesting to see how many calories I’m shovelling down my food pipe, and what I’m burning off when I exercise. Blogs like Men’s health love using phrases like torch calories and whip your body into shape”, but the fact is most people know that if they eat too much fat and don’t exercise, they will become fat. Or alternatively if your like swimmer Ryan Lochte you can plough through 12,000 calorie chicken mcnugget feasts because you swim for 7 hours a day and throw around metal chains for fun.

The problem

This whole nutrition thing is all new to me (I didn’t know the difference between kj’s and calories to start with). So here’s an example. I stroll into a McDonalds and order a double quarter pounder like the one you see above. It’s energy count is 3560kj which is about 850 calories. So now I have to work out what percentage that is of my daily limit, and how much I have to exercise to burn that sucker off. There’s a lot of conversion calculators and calorie burning pages out there, but I’m yet to find an easy way to find around this. 

The app

So my idea is this. I know NFC is all the rage, but I was thinking there could be a sweet AR tie in here. (yeah I know AR isn’t so cool at the moment but hear me out.) One thing Augmented Reality is good for is packaging. In Australia it’s law that every food item has to have the energy count on the label, so I would propose something.. (hopefully not a QR code) that would activate data stored on your app. All the annoying stuff that you have to re-enter online, like your weight, sex and activity would all be preset by yourself. The more variables you sort out the better, even like the climate you live in.

If you swim and ride your bike, you’d probably enter these activities as presets, same goes if you play footy twice a week.

So once all that’s set-up I imagine you scan the energy label of the cake you’re about to eat, and a pictogram floats next to it say of a soccer player and the time it would take to burn off that cake.

It’s a simple, personalised, and educated way to think about what you’re eating.

Even if they started printing little pictograms on food packaging with average calorie burning estimates, it would still be a nice public service campaign.

my next app idea also involves packaging/AR and wine…


July 29, 2012