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Inclusive App FoodFriend: Dining Made Easy for Intellectually Disabled

Inclusive App FoodFriend Dining Made Easy for Intellectually Disabled
Images via SIT
  1. A team of Year 3 students, named Team Pathmakers earn first place at InnovateFest 2023.
  2. They created an app called FoodFriend, transforming dining for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, or PWIDs, in Singapore.
  3. Their work heralds a new era of inclusivity in the food and beverage sector.

Hawker centres, the beating heart of Singapore’s food culture, bustle and thrum.

Noodling around these food havens, a revolution is stirring.

Enter FoodFriend, an app making dining seamless for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, or PWIDs.

The Birth of InnovateFest

Not so long ago, a squad of bright sparks from Singapore Institute of Technology snagged the crown at InnovateFest 2023, a challenge by Dell Technologies.

Named Team Pathmakers, these Year 3 students turned an idea into an app.

FoodFriend, they called it.

FoodFriend Flies High

This app, it’s more than code. It’s a bridge.

Empowerment at the fingertips of PWIDs.

How so?

Well, FoodFriend provides clear, step-by-step visual directions at hawker centres. It breaks down barriers, opens doors.

No jargon, only straightforward assistance.

Scan a QR code for an easy-to-read menu. No fuss, no confusion. A step-by-step guide simplifies the ordering process.

The app even tots up payments and change with a handy built-in calculator.

The punchline? It speaks four languages; English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

A true polyglot of an app, ready to champion inclusivity in multiracial Singapore.

Pathmakers Stand Proud

Guiding this innovation is Team Pathmakers’ captain, Dylan Tok.

Working for two months, they aced InnovateFest 2023.

Was it easy? Far from it.

Worth the $10,000 prize? You bet.

“When we first started this project, we never imagined the impact it would have,” Dylan said, surprised but proud.

“The beauty of technology is that it can break down barriers.”

Nudge by Nom Nom Buddy

Meanwhile, another SIT squad, Year 3 Computing Science students, made a splash at the competition.

Nom Nom Buddy was their creation, a consolation prize winner.

A version of FoodFriend, Nom Nom Buddy integrates audio-based learning.

The idea: To cut down PWIDs’ reliance on caregivers.

Pick a dish, customise the order and use text-to-speech to order. It’s as simple as that.

Inclusivity for All

Fathima, a member of Nom Nom Buddy, speaks enthusiastically about the project.

“By involving local hawkers and stall owners in this initiative, we’re promoting a more inclusive and understanding society.”

Indeed, technological innovation is breaking down barriers within the food and beverage sector.

The apps these young innovators develop stand as testament to the power of inclusivity—making sure nobody gets left behind at our food havens.

So, folks. Are you ready to embrace the next revolution in Singapore’s hawker centre dining?

Conclusion

Folks, it’s simple. By marrying technology and empathy, these young innovators are championing a more inclusive society. It’s a step forward. A step towards inclusivity. A step towards a future where everyone is part of the conversation.

And that’s something worth raising our plates for.

What are your thoughts on using technology to create a more inclusive dining experience? Let’s hear your thoughts.

What do you think?

Written by Patrick Tan

Meet Patrick, the word wizard of Daily.SG! He whips up news about Singapore that's so simple, even toddlers give him a thumbs up. When he's not writing, you'll find him sipping milk tea, gliding on skates, or striking a yoga pose. Dive into his stories and feel the sprinkle of fun and a whole lot of heart!

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