Combining work, social obligations and caring for a family in a balanced way has become an important worry of a growing group of European citizens The proposed project will help European citizens to obtain consumer solutions for a hassle-free guidance towards a balanced lifestyle. The project focuses on methods for inferring eating habits in an unobtrusive way and seeks to use this information to provide situated feedback on meal planning and preparation. Throughout all phases of the project a user-centered development (UCD) will be adopted. Since the project is targeting to change people’s behaviour, it is seen as vital to take user needs as the starting point for technology development. The main challenge will be to create solutions that give situated feedback in an enjoyable and engaging manner, leveraging social networking and the collaborative internet (i.e. Web 2.0) to affect behaviour change. The knowledge exchanged and developed in Balance@Home will strengthen both the academic and industrial sectors with knowledge on nutrition assessment, situated assistance for meal planning and preparation and the use of social networking to promote healthy eating. The partnership between Philips Research and Newcastle University will benefit from knowledge exchange in a number of fields of inquiry. Both partners have significant experience with the development of technology, this expertise is complementary, with Philips having a significant understanding of the development of consumer technologies (and the associated methods) and architectures for pervasive environments, and Newcastle University developing novel design methodologies and techniques to engage in experience-centred design and to exploit new findings in multimodal cognition. Newcastle University will also contribute nutritional expertise and external knowledge will be introduced to the partnership through the recruitment of an external expert in the social psychology of behaviour change.
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