Sunday, October 12, 2008

Food information systems
Posted by John Thackara

Two days ago I was in London to talk with design school tutors about the design competition concerning food information systems that the Royal Society of Arts is running together with Dott07. Today I learned from CalorieLab via SmartMobs that McDonalds is now placing codes on the packaging of many foods so that eaters can scan the package with their cell phones and find out the nutritional information. "Known as a QR Code, these printed codes look somewhat like a barcode and are scannable by many photo cellphones. All sorts of information can be packed into these little codes, from the website to find the amount of calories and fat in a Big Mac to a company's contact information on a business card," the site explains. This is good news for any young designers seeking to win a trip to Doors 9 (the prize for winning the RSA competition): you don't have to invent a QR food application - McDonalds has done that: take that as your starting point and amaze us with how much further it could go.

This is a good idea. It saves time for the eaters looking for nutritional information printed on the packages. Another good idea leaped into my mind. Perhaps we can import our health information into our cellphone. When we scan the packages, our cellphone will automatically tell us wether the food is suit for us. Then we do not need to check the nutritional information.

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