Hard to Swallow Biometrics…Bugging the Food We Eat, the RFID Way

NutriSmart prototype embeds RFID tags directly within food, traces your lunch from start to finish

Amar Toor|Engadget

At first glance this idea may seem cool or even benign, but what if you went out to eat and the hostess at the restaurant scans you and says, "you can't be hungry, you just ate at McDonalds two hours ago."

RFID tags are already used to trace everything from poker chips to hotel towels, but what if these little pellets were embedded directly within your lunch, providing everything you’d ever wanna know about that ham sandwich you’re about to beast?

That’s the idea behind NutriSmart — a food tracking system that revolves around edible RFID tags. Developed by Hannes Harms, a design engineering student at the Royal College of Art in London, these little markers would allow consumers to trace the entire supply chain behind every item in their cupboard, while feeding valuable nutritional information to dieters or people with particularly dangerous food allergies.

Kodak, as you may recall, came up with a similar idea a few years ago, though Harms’ prototype extends beyond the realm of medical monitoring. Properly equipped refrigerators, for example, would be able to alert users whenever their stock’s about to expire, simply by scanning the tags.

The NutriSmart concept also calls for a smart plate, which Harms describes as an “invisible diet management system.” Just put your meal on the plate and an embedded reader will analyze your grub, tell you how many miles it traveled before arriving at your kitchen and transmit all of its history and caloric data to your phone, via Bluetooth.

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NutriSmart from HannesRemote on Vimeo.