Smart Canteen

An intelligent system dedicated to improve the service quality of any canteen.

Powerpoint presentation

The Vision

First, let's have a look at some little fun facts:
40% of the total purchased food in America is wasted every year and 30% wasted in the U.K! The food wasted in Europe and America every year can feed the whole planet three times!
It's obvious that the food waste problems is now a worldwide issue , therefore we came up with the idea of a Less Waste system that can be used in the canteen to improve people's awareness of food saving. The reason why we choose the canteen is that we found during our observation, food waste is a serious problem in the canteen due to the relatively cheap prices of the meals.
Our system can detect the leftover weight, and deliver takeaway box to the custmors with overweight leftovers. In the mean time, we use also audio to inform customers about the current waste situation in the canteen time to time.
Through all theses three activities, we hope our system will be able to improve the canteen into a greener place and benefit the planet!

AmI steps and features

The four steps of how a AmI system is developed

  • Sensing: The system can sense the weight of the plate.
  • Reasoning: The system will collect and analyse weight data to evaluate if the leftover is overweight or not.
  • Acting: A broadcast will be played when the sensor sensed the left food overweight, keeping people aware of the current food waste situation.
  • Interacting: When user put the plate with overweight leftover food on the collecting shelf, a screen nearby will ask whether the customer need any takeaway box or not and then dispense the box if needed.

AmI Features

  • Sensitive: The system can sense the weight of the plate used by customer
  • Responsive: The screen will show some information to warn the user in case of wasting food.
  • Adaptive: The system is adaptive to most of the school canteen.
  • Transparent: Our system can be easily noticed since there are some information on the screen and broadcast played by the speaker. But this is necessary because our aim is to educate.
  • Ubiquitous: All the customer who inside the canteen can be modified by our system , also system can collect the data from them.
  • Intelligent: The screen which installed on the collection machine can easily show some data supported by sensor, also the data can be saved to help programmer to improve our facility.

Purpose and scope

The purpose of our system is emphasizing the awareness of saving food and leading the users to a sustainable lifestyle.
The sensor will sense the leftovers on the plates when they are returned and send the data to the system, which is able to estimate the quantities of the leftovers and analyze all the data statistically. A notification will show on the nearby screen asking if the customer need any takeaway boxes, if the system finds one plate with too much food wasted, then the customer can choose if they want to take away or not.
Except for interacting with the user, The system can inform the users who sited at specific area by giving a piece of voice that wasting or saving food as well as remind the user himself


Users Mainly the customers in the canteen
Interface The system will use the screen to interact with the users
Sustainability Lifestyle with the awareness of saving food
Sensor Weight sensor.
Leftover Mainly the food or something recyclable left on the dishes
Notification A message to the users
Box dispenser A container to store and dispense takeaway boxes.


Functional Requirements (FR)

These are functional Areas:
  1. Sensing and data obtaining
  2. Statistics processing and analysis
  3. Interface and the interaction with users
  4. Sound and voice control
    1. FR Title Description Priority
      1.1 Receiving box the sensors should sense and measure the weights of the plates and the data would be sent to the system. 2
      1.2 Weight sensing the sensors should sense and measure the weights of the plates and the data would be sent to the system 1
      1.3 Image sensing if techniques allow, a further improvement can be applied. The weight sensors can be replaced by the sensor with cameras, which is able detect the leftovers on the dish before the customers come to the receiving box 4
      2.1 Original data The system should originally store the data of the weight of the empty dishes. And we assume that all the plates are the same in the canteen . 1
      2.2 Check difference computing the difference between the sensing data and the original data to check if the leftover is more or less than 100g. 2 different notifications will be generated with respect to the 2 conditions. 1
      2.3 Statistical analysis Weekly and monthly the system will compute the average weight of food waste and compare it with the value of the last week or month. 2
      3.1 Feedback from the users The users can choose if they need a takeaway box,through an input peripheral. 1
      4.1 Public voice notification As a part of acting, a piece of voice notification will be played in the canteen notifying the recent statistics. 1

      Non-Functional Requirements(NFR)

      The language displayed on the screen is ENGLISH Performance
      The parameter of the electronic device and the surroundings of canteen strictly refer to security which published by our government Standards
      The data that we collected after some periods can be communicated with agriculture company to help each other Interoperability
      Equipment with fire extinguisher cabinet Safety
      The system supported by electric power company with 24h’s service Reliability

System architecture

Hardware architecture

Computational Nodes:
Computer: Data store and data elaboration point.
Database: Data store and data elaboration point.

Weight Sensors: Combined with the shelf, which is used to collect the plates.

Speakers: Installed on the ceiling or the walls.
Touch Screen: Placed next to the shelf.

Touch Screen: show a website to interact with the users.
Box Dispenser: next to the shelf, containing a lot of takeaway boxes or bags.

Software architecture

It is shown on the screen and it has two modes:
 Mode1. Showing information and tips about food saving issues when it is free.
 Mode2. Sending notifications to users when it is required by the system.

Running on the computer. It stores the data.

Computer Programs:
Controlling all the programable hardware devices.

Selected components

Hardware components

Laptop: ASUS N55047JV
Weight Sensor: Load cell
Touch Screen(model): IPad
Speaker: laptop built-in speaker
Arduino Uno Box Dispenser: Lego model

Software components

Google Chrome

Open issues

1. How to alert customers about the daily food waste?

2. Unknown model of the sensor

3. How to dispense the box? Which type of container should we use? Or should we make one by ourselves?