A Bluetooth beacon in your fridge could help you eat less

Most applications for beacon technology so far have been targeted towards retailers and marketers — for instance, beacons have been used to push coupons for McNuggets when you walk by a McDonalds. Taking a different approach to the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol, a new free app from developer Brian Mueller employs beacons to help you eat less.carrot-hunger-screneshotCarrot Hunger, which launched for iOS on Thursday, has a nifty feature that requires a beacon in your fridge. Like a digital version of a “nothing feels as good as skinny feels” magnet on your fridge, the Carrot Hunger app can push a notification when you’re nearby a iBeacon reminding you to log the food you’re about to eat — effectively, a reminder not to stuff your face. Carrot Hunger recommends sticking the beacon in a fridge, but you can also stick a iBeacon in, say, your office’s kitchen.

carrot screenshot ibeacon

Unfortunately, Carrot won’t provide an iBeacon. You’ll have to bring your own beacon hardware — some iBeacon-capable beacons cost as little as $15 — and configure it, making setup slightly more difficult for the less technically inclined. For instance, you’ll need to know the proximity UDID your beacon is using and input it into the Carrot Hunger app. You might also need to employ trial and error to figure out the best place to stick the beacon in or around a fridge, which can work a bit like a faraday cage.

Carrot Hunger is a calorie counting app. Apart from its fridge alarm feature, users can scan a bar code to enter in a food they’ve just eaten, or users can also enter calories manually from a database of foods. If you go over your daily food allotment, Carrot Hunger will punish you — either by serving fullscreen in-app adds, asking for an in-app payment or broadcasting your failure to social networks.

Carrot Hunger is the fourth Carrot app, joining a to-do app, an alarm app and a fitness app. The thread tying them all together is that they all feature Carrot, an evil (or at least hostile) artificial intelligence character, reminiscent of HAL 9000 or GLaDOS. The Carrot Hunger launch video gives you a good idea about whether you’d be able to live with her and an iBeacon living in your fridge alongside moldy leftovers.

iOS 8 won’t spill your unique device identifier to any router that asks

iPhones and iPads running the newest version of iOS, currently in beta, will provide a randomized MAC address to access points it has not connected to yet. Somewhat like giving away a fake phone number, this tweak will not only protect user privacy, it also means marketers need to embrace iBeacon to collect iPhone location data.