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    Date submitted
  • 31-Oct-2018

LittleMoochi

Abstract

LittleMoochi is a mobile app that encourages children to form healthy eating habits through an AI-powered virtual pet. A child adopts a little Moochi pet and ‘feeds’ it by simply snapping a photo of what the child him or herself eats. Moochi’s growth and interaction with the child, in turn motivate him or her to learn about healthy foods and develop positive eating habits.

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Following pediatricians’ suggestions around timing the formation of healthy habits to prevent obesity, LittleMoochi’s target users are U.S. children at the age between 6 and 12. Therefore, our target buyers are U.S. parents at the age between 30 and 44.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that a large portion of children in the U.S. has unhealthy eating behaviors. We interviewed several pediatric experts, they all expressed unanimous concern that unhealthy eating pattern has become a major contributor to childhood obesity, causing both physical diseases, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and psychological problems. Experts’ opinions align with pain points that we identified from parent surveys and interviews. 72% of parents surveyed expressed experiencing arguments with their children over food choices, and 68% rate their children's’ eating habits equal or less than 3 on a scale of 1-5. Our survey and interviews show that parents are facing the following day-to-day challenges that inhibit them from helping their children develop healthier eating habits: 1. “My children don’t like healthy food.” 2. “I don't have enough knowledge to help my children foster healthy eating habits.”

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

LittleMoochi instills joy into the experience of developing healthy eating habits through raising a Moochi pet. Based on child behavioral research, Moochi is designed in a novel way to connect the virtual world with educational principles to enable children to better understand nutrition, encourage children to choose healthier foods, and gradually instill changes into their eating behaviors over time. Gamified. We incorporated the concept of “feeding” a pet your own food into LittleMoochi to make mealtime a more fun activity. Moochi changes its appearance, mood, and dialogue based on what it eats to both educate and encourage kids to make good food choices. For example, Moochi wears a superhero cape after eating a new vegetable, gamifying the act of trying new foods. • Professional. LittleMoochi is backed by Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate for Kids. Moochi encourages children to choose food based on both their macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and micronutrient needs (vitamins and minerals). From a physiological perspective, LittleMoochi uses ‘Persuasive Techniques’ proven effective for habit formation, including repetitive tasks (e.g., eat broccoli 3 times this week) to perform behaviors; metaphor (a virtual pet) to create a psychological distance which helps kids gain self-control; gamification (e.g., mission games) to keep children engaged and help them achieve the goal. • Personalized. Our deep learning models enable Moochi to recognize the ingredients and nutrition in a single photo of the meal, and to learn children’s eating habits based on their meal history. Our app may provide a personalized health report and nutritional suggestions to parents based on the child’s health status, nutritional needs, and taste preferences.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

We are targeting a huge and growing market. We are working on a novel solution incorporating AI technology and gamification design. Most importantly, we are a team of five CMU students from Tepper, Heinz, LTI and HCI that ready to combine our experience, skill set and passion to make LittleMoochi happen!