Last year, while working as a contractor for Food Genius, I got to build a mobile web app that consumed their new API of restaurant POIs and dish suggestions. The app tried to aggregate the ratings of Indian food dishes and make suggestions for the next dish as we drove around the Loop and West Town neighborhoods in a “reverse food truck”. Our collaborators at IDEO, where Food Genius had a residency, decked out a Uhaul like an Indian restaurant.
This was one of my first experiences writing a mobile web-app, dealing with OAuth and consuming an emerging API. I wrote the app using Python’s Flask framework and used Twitter’s Bootstrap (and its responsive features) to quickly prototype the UI. The biggest takeaway from the event was how delighted passersby were to experience the weirdness of people dining in the back of a truck. I also liked making a technology where individuals interacted with their personal devices to drive a collective experience. Often, interaction with devices, particularly around food and dining take people away from the collective experience, rather than feeding back into it.
The folks at IDEO wrote about the event on the IDEO labs blog.