Baris, Max, Sahar, and Kyle are Ph.D. students in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota. They designed and built the “freedge” system of smart-fridges to fight food insecurity based on interviews with food-shelf organizations and cultural probes with the public. Their freedge prototype and app addressed four major goals that they sought to address.
- they targeted short-term hunger by making a fridge which literally offers free food. In addition, because of its digital nature, using the freedge generates data which can be used to capture and display the scope of food insecurity.
- they brought food donation closer to homes by making a device that could be walked to in a neighborhood rather than having to go to a central food shelf.
- they supported ad-hoc usage of the system through a web-app which is connected to cameras and locks inside the freedge, allowing users to view and reserve food from anywhere at any time.
- they created new ways to donate to the food insecurity cause, by crowdsourcing the state and safety of food in the freedges, as well as their maintenance tasks.