Team Vigyaan at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit!
Team Vigyaan took a trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to meet fellow entrepreneurs and industry veterans to learn from their experiences.
We were a part of GES because we were one of few ventures that was already at the prototype stage.
Through over 50 discussions, we brainstormed different strategies to take our prototype to a broader market in our bid to solve the global challenge of feeding over 9 billion people. We learnt about different challenges that entrepreneurs had previously faced, in an attempt to not repeat them.
Onwards and upwards!
The science behind FoodWatch
By the time the naked eye can spot food spoilage it is too late to alter food consumption patterns, or to initiate contact with people who’d be able to consume this food before it rots. End result? The food ends in the trash can. FoodWatch detects spoilage patters well in advance, and allows you to follow consumption patters designed to minimise wastage. Food that can’t be consumed can then be passed to people who need and want it, saving precious income for end users.
FoodWatch captures an image of the food articles we need to analyse using flash cameras and then applies vigorous image processing to predict spoilage trends in those articles and the present stage of spoilage they are in.
As hyper spectral imaging can provide both spectral and spatial information from the tested samples, it can obtain accurate quantification and constituent variation of the food products, leading to better characterisation and improved quality and safety evaluation results. With the integration of the main features of imaging and spectroscopy, hyper spectral imaging can simultaneously acquire both spatial and spectral information that is critical to the detection of food safety and evaluation of food quality attributes. A typical hyper spectral system consists of a light source, a wavelength dispersion device, and an area detector. The images are acquired over the visible and near-infrared (or infrared) wavelengths to specify the complete wavelength spectrum of a sample at each point in the imaging plane. These images are then combined and form a three dimensional hyper spectral cube, with two dimensions for describing spatial information and the third one for spectral information. In this hypercube, each spectral pixel corresponds to a spectral signature (or spectrum) of the corresponding spatial region, recording the entire measured spectrum of the imaged spatial point. Therefore the measured spectrum indicates the ability of the sample in absorbing or scattering the exciting light, representing the inherent chemical properties of a sample. As a result, the technology provides us with unprecedented detection capabilities, which otherwise cannot be achieved with either imaging or spectroscopy alone. The results we get using these techniques are earth-shattering. This technology enables us to figure out whether our fruits our unripe, mature or fully ripe. We are able to detect any signs of spoilage even in fruits or vegetable which otherwise appear absolutely fresh. All this is made possible just by taking photographs at different wavelengths!
Using simple coloured cellophane strips, we can vary the wavelength of light falling on the object by filtering out specific wavelengths.
All of this complex technology is packaged behind a user-friendly interface that enables people at different levels of the food value chain to reap its benefit and save food. After all, a grain of food saved is equivalent to a grain produced.
FoodWatch – taking the cutting edge of technology to the world’s biggest problems.
Expert Opinion: Double testing our prototype
The entire Team Vigyaan got in touch with Soumyadeep Mukherjee, a research scholar studying Computer Vision. Even though our technology team had done a ton of work on the idea and the prototype, we realized that it was easy for the team to get blindsided, and so we went to someone with expertise in the area to get double validation.
He examined our entire code, algorithms, prototype, and our work-in-progress app, and gave us his blessings and suggestions. While the approval was a booster, the suggestions and improvements that he suggested were extremely helpful, and we implemented all of them over the winters.
A small part of our discussion is in the Youtube link attached
Soumyadeep explains that using Hyper Spectral Image Processing allows taking images of fruits and vegetables at the pixel level. All that is required is to take multiple photographs while varying the wavelength of light falling on the object. Processing these multiple photographs gives extremely granular data about the spoilage and infestations of any type of food.
What this means for us is that we can use the flash light in our cell phones coupled with simple cellophane filters of different colours to filter out specific wavelengths and photograph the object. The additional cost is less then 50 cents, and our app can study these wavelength based images to study the food, and that’s when we can drive real impact.
FoodWatch for the win!
Stakeholder Interview V: Time for veges
Ankur and Mohit went out to the vegetable market in Kharagpur. We both used our familiarity in Bengali to speak to the oldest vegetable seller in the market.
The nutrition habits of South and South East Asia are very deficient in greens anyway. We further found that greens spoil the fastest, and make for the greatest wastage at the site of the vegetable seller. They must be consumed immediately because of the lack of cold storage in the developing world.
The impact of FoodWatch on greens is tremendous, given their importance in our diet, and the ease of detection of spoilage and infestation in greens due to their monochromic nature.
By saving greens in time, FoodWatch keeps our diets and our bodies, healthy!
Stakeholder Interview IV: A juice vendor shares his point of view
Manav talks to Mr. Ganesh discussing the agents of food spoilage causing the maximum damage. He shared with us details about how he puts in a lot of effort in buying the best produce from the markets, but they rot with time rendering more than 20% of his fruits unfit for consumption.
He was excited to find out that our team is working on a mobile app that will help him solve this issue, using just the cellular phone in his pocket. He wished us success in our endeavours to help solve the global challenge of feeding over 9 billion people.
See beyond food with FoodWatch!