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Method and Apparatus to Apply Visual Analytics to Refrigerator Images to Increase Dinner Choices and Reduce Food Waste

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000245337D
Publication Date: 2016-Mar-01
Document File: 3 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method and system to use image/visual analytics capabilities to create knowledge graphs of available food items in a household and then search for and present recipes and meal recommendations based on available ingredients. The system can also store user profiles to accommodate special dietary needs.

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Method and Apparatus to Apply Visual Analytics to Refrigerator Images to Increase Dinner Choices and Reduce Food Waste

People are often challenged to find ideas for meals on a daily basis. One approach someone might take is to perform an online search based on some of the ingredients already on-hand (e.g., chicken, cheese, potatoes, etc.). This can be time consuming and frustrating if recipes are found for which the person does not have all of the ingredients in the house, or does not include the ingredients that a person does have (which might then go to waste if not used in a timely manner).

The novel approach to the problem is to begin thinking about food preparation and food

waste in a more analytic fashion. A method is needed that enables a user to review items available and receive suggested meal options that include on-hand ingredients, minimizing waste, and assisting families in reducing spending.

The solution is to use image/visual analytics capabilities to create knowledge graphs of available food items and search recipes based on available ingredients to provide meal recommendations that utilize items currently in a user's refrigerator and pantry. The solution helps reduce both food waste and grocery bills. In addition, the system can include defined profiles that save the special requirements for a person or family (e.g., caloric requirements, dietary needs based on health or medical conditions, etc.). The method then identifies recipes that include the existing ingredients while adhering to profile guidelines and dietary needs.

The method uses the image/visual capabilities for cooking utensils, as some food dishes require special utensils for preparation (e.g., blender, whisk, steamer, etc.). The method analyzes pictures of the cooking utensils, saves a list, and considers what is available it when suggesting a recipe.

In addition, the method can help optimize food shopping. For example if the user has the graph for current ingredients, then the method can predict if buying a missing ingredient could help to grow the graph and expand the list of recipes that the user could cook. For example, the method could suggest that the user purchase lettuce because the system detects that the user has many ingredients for making different salads; but the system cannot suggest a salad for a menu because it is not in the refrigerator. If the user buys lettuce, then the user can expand menu options, and reduce food waste and grocery bills.

Figure: Process flow in a preferred embodiment

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Referring to the above figure:
101. Person starts the method to obtain recipes. In this step, the user most likely opens an applicat...