What's For Lunch, Kids? by Kelley Kim
I'm interested in ways to visualize concepts and ideas that are interesting to the user or audience. Something that I cam across in TIME magazine and that I have noticed in the news is the campaign to better school lunches. Reports in news outlets such as the LA Times and BBC cover Michelle Obama's campaign for healthier school lunches for children, and after doing research, there is a lot of evidence of the decline in the quality of lunches served at school. A history of the National School Lunch program can be found at the United States Department of Agriculture's website and examples of what was served in the early to mid-1900's can be found in several articles. Something that I found interesting was that the founding of National School Lunch program was influenced by the Great Depression and the general consensus that one healthy meal a day can help a child's growth tremendously. With the school lunches today containing things such as corn dogs, french fries and soda, the state of lunches served at school can more as detrimental to a child's health than it is helpful. In addition, the quality of food, such as the beef supplied to the schools, was also proved to be inferior to most fast food chain stores, with restaurants such as McDonalds being "far more rigorous than the government in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens in beef" than the school's suppliers. While there is a start in pushing schools to provide more healthy lunches for their students, many schools continue with lunches filled with fried foods, sometimes because of economical reasons.
I would like to use a webcam in order to help visualize the difference between lunches in the early to mid 1900's and the present day. There would be a split screen and as the user put their hands up to carry a school lunch "tray" in order to move on through the lunch line. As the user continues, they would receive food on their trays that would be representative of the school lunch menus both at the beginning of the National School Lunch Program as well as today. The split screen would divide the time period. In this way, the difference is clearly portrayed on screen, and obviously indicates the decline in the health of school lunch foods. I believe that this is important because while the public acknowledges the unhealthiness of school foods, many have not made changes because of different reasons. I hope that blatantly displaying the images in this way will actually cause people to think about the issue.
I am looking into using Processing in order to execute the project. It would incorporate the webcam in my computer and use Processing to process the live video.