UHI scientists propose 'internet of food'

  • Prof. Maged N. Kamel Boulos

Press/Media: Research


University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) scientists have been exploring the idea of the "internet of food".

The concept involves using technology, such as smartphones and software, to help people chose food and drink best suited to their health needs.

UHI believes it could offer protection from allergies and too many calories.

The idea is similar to the "internet of things" which sees domestic products, such as washing machines, being controllable via online tools.

Prof Maged Boulos, an expert in digital health at UHI, who is leading the research, said: "A new breed of automated food scanner apps, devices and methods is emerging which aim at identifying the nature of food and drinks in our diet.


"Methods include barcode scanning, weighing with portable electronic scales, measurement of weight/portion size with smartphone photos and remote food and drink recognition by crowdsourced volunteers or dieticians.

"However, these methods are of limited value if we cannot reason with the identified food and drink items in the context of a user's health conditions and preferences."

'Millions of Euros'

Prof Boulos said increased use of technology to help people make selections of food and drink could greatly improve health.

However, he added that it would require further research and funding.

Prof Boulos said: "This will be a huge academic undertaking involving multiple research centres, universities and industry.

"Based on the development of other technologies of similar scale, it will likely require several years and millions of euros of funding to complete an initial base version."

Period22 Dec 2015

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  • Food Informatics
  • Nutrition Informatics