Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What's 'appening' with DE:FT

By @deftfood

Progress so far 
Now that we are six months into the project we thought it was time we let you all know how things are progressing. We have prototypes of three apps - FoodCloud, ShopStamp and Gradeback - which are on our website as power point slides.  For those who left comments on the forum page of the website, many thanks!  Any further comments would be most welcome too! We have also designed a questionnaire survey, which is looking at shopping habits and technology.  Again please feel free to complete it.  There is also the chance of winning some Amazon vouchers for those who do.

Following on from some of the feedback we have received we have slightly modified the FoodCloud prototype, removing the quiz and simplifying some of the links that we had built into it.  Just to recap, the idea behind FoodCloud was to develop an app which would show people how they were ‘surrounded by food’ so, for example, what was growing in the fields, how food was moving all around them, the routes it was taking and the outlets available to them.
Progress to date 
David Grey from Computer Science at the University of Hull is one of the co-investigators on the project and he has been busy turning our paper prototype of FoodCloud into a working app.  The app has, of all things, a ‘back end’, which can be found at so please have a look at it and tell us what you think. The link will take you straight to the log in page and once logged in it is then possible to input descriptions of what the fields are used for using the fields tab.  David has built in a link to ‘MyFarm’ so that anyone who logs in as a farmer can locate their farm using the map which will be displayed, zoom into their fields and label them accordingly as well as providing a brief description of their farm and any farm gate sales they offer.  It’s amazing what a campus can be used for as in order to test how well the ‘back end’ works we have turned the Hull site into a virtual arable farm. The Cohen building was a field of wheat which has been harvested and will be made into biscuits.
Opening up the app 
This information is stored in the ‘back end’ of the app and when the app is opened up it uses GPS to locate any fields that have been added to the ‘back end’ data base.  
Image of smartphone screen and field ‘flags’
Once the fields are located a small ‘flag’ appears on the phone screen (see image above),and by touching the ‘flag’ labelled, wheat, for example, an image of a wheat plant will appear together with the information that was loaded onto the ‘back end’.  We now have a working prototype which is exciting which we can take out ‘into the wild’ and demonstrate to people something we have just started to do and if anyone else would like to see the app working please get in touch at  Any feedback is invaluable and will help us in making the app more responsive to the needs of user groups.
Next steps.
At present we are in the process of trying to develop extra ‘layers’ to ‘FoodCloud’ so that it can be used to make the link between food and sites of historical interest. We have also been thinking about a broader ‘FoodCrowd’ concept which would involve children, for instance collecting and inputting data on their local area thus learning about their localities and how they are surrounded by food.

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