Thursday, December 20, 2012

iTube: mobile food allergen detector. I heart the potential of sensors + big data + clever algorithms.


Facebook tells us about old friends we may want to get back in touch with. LinkedIn tells us about jobs we may be interested in. Amazon tells us about books we may like. YouTube tells us about videos we may be interested in seeing. The supermarket even prints out customized coupons for ice cream I might be interested in trying. All this without asking.

For the most part, I find that such proactive marketing is rather helpful and amazingly accurate. But this shouldn't be surprising: there is a lot of big data and clever algorithms behind each notification.

And the potential for combining big data with proactive notification is just beginning. Let's call what we'll be seeing in the near future "big proactive." There will be more proactivity concerning individual healthcare and well-being as a history of data compiled from sensors overtime will calculate risks of disease. Sensors know the when, the what, the where, the weather. And going forward they will sniff out problems with our bodies and the air around us. Sensors will even be checking our food.

Here's an interesting project done at the University of California, Los Angeles called "iTube" which uses sensors to turn a smartphone into an allergen detector. By detecting food allergens such as gluten, peanuts and eggs, the smartphone can act to warn users of potential food risks.

I'm positive that sensors and big data will be big moving forward.

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