Oxford University Scientists Create “Comfort Food” App


Scientists at Oxford University trialed a new app that uses facial recognition to offer food recommendations to boost a person’s spirits. The app is a collaboration between Oxford University scientists and JustEat, a food delivery service.

The app detects six different emotions and matches the emotion with a menu to lift a person’s mood.

“Mood mapping” technology is used to match the user’s current mood with the appropriate menu. The app’s technology was tested for the first time this past weekend and is expected to be rolled out by the end of the year.

The app uses cues from a user’s eyes, lips and frown lines to detect hidden feelings, too. Users that try to hide their feelings are, ideally, unable to hide their feelings or emotions from the app.

Professor Charles Spence, the app’s developer, states evidence that mood impacts a person’s taste and smell. Food can have an effect on mood, and the app allows for a technology-savvy way to brighten up a user’s day.

Spence states that the app’s technology will become the norm in the future. He points to emotion affecting sensory, and states that food, following a break-up, often doesn’t taste as good due to emotions, which leads to people eating less.

The app detects: anger, fear, surprise, disgust, joy and sadness.

The app will match a user’s mood to the food suggested. Dark chocolate may be recommended to a user who’s stressed due to chocolate’s calming effects.

JustEat is working alongside Spence to offer a new and exciting way to recommend food to users.

Spence states, “There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that your mood has a significant impact on your taste and smell – it can deaden or liven the effect of both – a reverse of this is also believed to be true, that food can have a number of effects on your mood.”