Smart Bento

A bento box to promote mindful eating

As contemporary life continues to accelerate and time is an increasingly valuable commodity, it is often the preparation of food that falls down our collective priority list and as a result, our nutritional intake suffers. In fact, the US government revealed that three quarters of the population has an eating pattern that’s low in vegetables, fruits, and oils.

We asked
How might digital technologies and the IoT help us to understand our eating habits and alter our unhealthy eating patterns?

Rationale execution
We developed Smart Bento, a project inspired by the Japanese tradition of packing bento lunches. These packed lunches place a binary emphasis on nutrition and aesthetics.

Individuals are recommended healthy meal recipes through Smart Bento’s phone application, which are specifically tailored to their nutritional needs and goals. By tracking macronutrients, Smart Bento can then determine healthy portion sizes and provide a varied diet for all-round health benefits.

Our findings
Through iterative prototyping and in-house testing, we found that Smart Bento could be a fantastic tool for building healthy habits. In an age where people are becoming hyper-aware of what makes up their diet, Smart Bento could be an efficient way of translating our new relationship with food.

However, the mobile application ultimately takes people’s focus away from the meal itself. If we want people to be more present while preparing and eating their meals, we should bring their attention off the screens and toward their food. Following our agile approach, our next iteration of the Smart Bento will work off experimenting with different information-delivery features.

Departure questions
Q: How can we create a connected device that doesn’t distract the user from its function?
Q: Can Smart Bento lead to greater collaboration between health practitioners, food and beverage producers, and end consumers?
Q: Is it possible to align genetic testing with nutritional intake, to ensure that connected boxes can serve as a personalized, education tool for users?
Q: What are the privacy and safety concerns around systems that are intimately connected to consumer habits?

Timeline
Seven weeks

Project Tags
Tangible Media, Industrial Design


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