Case Study

With an Assist from Pantek, FoodPhone Demonstrates How Smartphone Food Analysis Can Scale in the cloud

Details

Compay Name: FoodPhone
Date: Sep 2018
Website: https://www.foodphone.biz/

Affordable mobile 3D hyperspectral sensor built right into a standard smartphone. FoodPhone accurately identifies the amount and composition of food without touching it.

The Challenge: Prove Successful Prototype Works in the Real World

FoodPhone will amaze anyone who needs to analyze what’s in their food. Whether it’s someone with diabetes or high blood pressure that must know specific ingredients, or someone on a diet who is counting calories, FoodPhone makes it happen—with no more than a smartphone!

How so? The scientists and software engineers at FoodPhone developed a patented prototype that utilizes an affordable 3D hyperspectral sensor built right into a standard smartphone. The technology snaps pictures of food and leverages artificial intelligence to accurately identify the amount and composition. Users don’t have to key-in information to identify their food and estimate portion sizes, and they quickly receive scientific analysis of what’s on their plate, presented as familiar nutritional fact labels.

After receiving a seed investment to fund the building of the solution prototype, FoodPhone needed to take its technology to the next level in order to secure additional funding “This meant proving our prototype could scale and deliver food analysis in the real world—through the cloud and to millions of users at a time across the globe,” says Christopher Mutti, who envisioned the FoodPhone concept and is the CEO of the company.

FoodPhone analysis software is written in C++. The next step was to integrate the back-end solution with the Raspberry Pi computing platform and the Ubuntu Linux operating system, and to get the front-end to work on smartphones in order to execute food analysis in the cloud.

“Our internal team built the prototype technology and the front-end of the applications, but we needed specific resources on scaling the solution so it would work within a cloud infrastructure and on smartphones,” Mutti says. “Hiring someone would be cost-prohibitive because we don’t need these skills on a full-time basis. But we sometimes need them up to 30 hours in a given week, and we want resources to be available for quick programming assistance.”

“To bring our product to next stage—where our initial vision would be up and running at scale—we could see Pantek provides all the technical expertise we required, They help tech companies like our company advance towards going to market much faster than we could on our own.”
Christopher Mutti

CEO, FoodPhone

The Solution: Pantek Provides OS and Application Expertise—On-Demand

At first, Mutti found it difficult to identify a technology partner who could provide everything FoodPhone required. “Some offered expertise in Linux, and others provided expertise in developing mobile applications, but we could not find anyone who offered both with on-demand availability,” Mutti says.

That’s when Mutti heard about Pantek at an entrepreneur meeting for start-up tech companies. He then validated the firm’s Linux (Ubuntu), technical support, and software development expertise through online research and by talking to colleagues. After meeting the Pantek  team in person, Mutti knew he found the exact partner he was looking for.

BossNine integrated the FoodPhone image-capture application with Raspberry Pi. Pantek also integrated the application with the Ubuntu open-source Linux distribution and FoodPhone’s patented proprietary 3D camera technology.

As part of the project, Pantek recoded and compiled the stand-alone source code written by FoodPhone scientists for AI and multi-spectral imaging so the code could work with the Linux OS. “The un-compiled code we created is the blueprint,” Mutti says. “But to then implement it in the cloud at scale, we needed the expertise of Pantek.’

The Results: FoodPhone Now Ready to Impress Investors

With the back-end application running on the Linux operating system in the cloud and the front-end application working on smartphones, FoodPhone now has a proof-of-concept that allows the company to demonstrate to investors how the solution will work in the real world. “Getting to this point was critical for our company to secure the necessary investment funding,” Mutti says. “I consider the partnership with Pantek to be similar to a symphony; we built the instruments that make food analysis on smartphones possible, and Pantek orchestrates all of the instruments to all play well together in the cloud.”

One of the key attributes Pantek exhibited throughout the project was its flexibility to react to technology changes. “The technology is always advancing quickly when it comes to artificial intelligence, spectroscopy, and 3D cameras,” Mutti says. “When there’s a change, such as technologies evolving from using USB2 to USB3 connectors, that means we need to re-program the integration within Linux. As this occurred on our project, Pantek always reacted quickly to keep our project moving forward.”

FoodPhone’s go-to-market strategy will focus first on people who have diabetes. The opportunity could be huge as research indicates more than 400 million people are living with diabetes in the world, which is estimated to be 1 in 11 of the world’s adult population. The figure is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040. Beyond people with diabetes, the FoodPhone solution is sure to benefit anyone who needs to analyze the content of the food they are about to eat.

“We have created a bold vision for a vast market, and Pante is helping us bring that vision to life,” Mutti says. “While we focus on bringing our intellectual property to bear, Pantek is assisting in building the IT infrastructure and technology integrations we need to make our vision a reality.”

When FoodPhone is ready to start delivering its solution to customers, Mutti can turn to Pantek for ongoing support. Pantek also offers expertise in building, managing and supporting cloud infrastructure, which will prove helpful when it’s time to provision food analysis from the cloud.

“Whether it’s getting an application ready for the cloud, or supporting an application after it’s deployed to the cloud, BossNine is an ideal partner for start-ups,” Mutti says. “In addition to providing a broad range of DevOps and cloud expertise, they also dedicate resources to each client. This allows us to form a real team atmosphere in the way we collaborate so we complete projects faster.”

For more information on FoodPhone and how the company’s patent-pending SpectraPixel™ technology turns any smartphone into an affordable, mobile 3D hyperspectral sensor, visit (www.foodphone.biz).