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Absolutely agree with everything you've said. I had dreamed of a Libib[1] for my kitchen, but knew I would have to do all the painful data adding and it was too much of a bother.

The other big challenge I never resolved was how you'd account for e.g. using 1/4 cup of flour out of a bigger volume. Or taken to its extreme, cooking oil. How do you know how much your 'splash' is? You can't predict the remaining volume without a lot of fiddling to measure it and that defeats the purpose.

In the end, I opted for manual databases too, but they're pain to keep up-to-date. I still think there's a lot of value in a database for all-or-nothing style ingredients, but it was enough to deter me. I'm glad someone is less lazy.

[1]: https://www.libib.com/

Isn't this why "Alexa, add flour and olive oil to my shopping list" supposed make it so useful? You know when you are using something that you are almost out, and easy to say out loud to add to a list. It doesn't need to be so granular so something gets a reorder when there is only 2oz of olive oil left.

> The other big challenge I never resolved was how you'd account for e.g. using 1/4 cup of flour out of a bigger volume. Or taken to its extreme, cooking oil. How do you know how much your 'splash' is? You can't predict the remaining volume without a lot of fiddling to measure it and that defeats the purpose.

Definitely. Or, even, just taking some snacks to another room, and later placing it back to an 'intelligent' cupboard, let's say. In extreme cases, one may need be under a constant tracking at home.

But, simplifying, another option may be to use an improved voice assistant when cooking. One would need then to interact with the VA to note and confirm the stuff used. Improved VA, in essence, would try to 'understand' the activities and interact, instead of being a passive one (as most of currently are), that one needs to say commands. This would require adding it access to camera and maybe other sensors available at 'smart' home. Definitely a lot of interesting and challenging problems to tackle not forgetting too about the user privacy part.

My naive solution, assuming a sufficiently "smart" home, would be to have each shelf be an accurate scale. If it's sensitive enough, it should be able to detect the weight of what was consumed.

A shelf for each item?

What you are talking about is called taking inventory. Even if automated tracking is being performed, i.e., by scanning the boxes or containers when they are moved out and updating the quantity in the database, a periodic inventory audit is performed in the warehouse to reconcile the actual number of the product on the shelf with the one derived from reflecting any additions or subtractions of the product.

In the household setting, the most realistic system are we r would be to keep track of the addition (purchase/replenishment) ołl the containers/packages of each product and subtraction when the entire container is used-up and discarded. Obviously, this system would require maintaining at least one spare container for each product and reorder replacement when the remaining inventory count is 1 or whatever number of stock of a specific product one would want to maintain. Partial expenditures (splashes or table spoons of cooking oil, pinch of silt, a number of eggs from the pack, cups of sugar or flour from the container, a serving of cereal from box etc.) of the product from the container wouldn’t be tracked. The inventory would only be updated when the container/package has been fished up or purchased and added to the home inventory. For those items which one wishes not stock more than one container or packaging, a solution would be to label such containers, so that you can re-order the product (via Alexa or Google Assistant or Siri) when the remaining amount of the product is below certain level, depending on the product. I.e., you wouldn’t stock more than one container of milk or eggs. But when you got below half full, you would know to reorder. If certain products are used exclusively by the kids, they should learn to talk to Alexa or let parents know that they would soon run out of the product (they would learn if they want to have the product available). If one would follow this system of continuous replenishment, it might be unnecessary to keep the track of the available stock/inventory. But updating of the inventory database could be done automatically, using designated commands to the voice assists which invoke IFTT engine action sequence in which the product is ordered or added to the weekly order or shopping list and updated in the inventory database as being ordered. Further, the delivery of the orders could be automatically detected by the IFTT email analysis extension, but for accessing the order in the notification and updating the inventory of items delivered in a given order, one would need to write a bit of the code, for each of the suppliers, i.e., Amazon, Jet, Target, Chewy etc. The high turnover items with no reserve (fresh groceries) do not justify keeping track of their inventory, just remember to reorder them or add to the shopping list and complete the recurring task of doing grocery shopping, of which the voice assistants and personal devices could be reminding you about.

For items like oil and flour or other staples, maybe the best option would be to track and learn how often you are buying those items and have it added to your list when the time is approaching.

I think the key is the meal planning. The recipes need to bulk manage the inventories and list as meals are prepared and upcoming. The recipes would need to be cleaned up and normalized.

Just plan for whole bottles / bags and have at least 2 in the pantry. Then record when you run out of a box and buy the replacement.

all shelves with scales all over them for each thing you use unmeasured

An idea I had was coasters for bars and restaurants. You could easily glue those to shelves.

And what’s the point of these coasters?

I built chowcaster to (a) learn jquery mobile and (b) solve a simpler problem: keeping track of what was in the deep freeze in my dettached garage. We used a barcode scanner for data entry, but even this was too much hassle and was eventually abandoned.

A barcode scanner with a scale solves this

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