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Equipping consumers with AI technology to make more conscious choices

Microsoft Azure, AWS, Forest Admin, React, S3 bucket storage, SQL, Cognitive Services, OpenCV image processing library, NodeJS, Firebase
AI solution for cosmetics

Our client Protégez-Vous! (in English: Protect Yourself!) is a non-profit organization that performs rigorous tests, studies, and surveys on thousands of products sold in the province of Quebec. Through their print magazine and website, their aim is to provide consumers with accurate information to make more informed buying decisions. Protégez-vous! came to us to see if AI could be leveraged to help them accurately maintain their database of beauty products. The challenge was to develop an app that would be used internally to speed up the process of populating ingredient lists. With the app’s creation, Osedea has been a trusted ally as the non-profit seeks to fulfill their mission to inform, educate, and support consumers. Here’s how we did it.

Person shopping

The context

Within Canada, ingredients in cosmetics aren’t reviewed for safety before they’re put on the shelves, nor are they required to display warnings for toxicity. While the chemical content of beauty products is displayed on their packaging, the average consumer still struggles to decipher the scientific language (let alone understand the implications of said ingredients on their health).

Protégez-Vous! wants to be able to make effective recommendations to consumers about ingredient toxicity, but before partnering with Osedea, their team had the time-consuming task of manually transcribing ingredient lists into text, creating bottlenecks.

Challenge accepted

Protégez-Vous! has been operating since 1973. They’re no stranger to consumer needs and the rapidly-changing personal care landscape. To keep up with the pace of products emerging on the market, Protégez-Vous! required a more efficient system for data capture. They were seeking a partner to build an internal app that would reduce the need for manual input.

Over an eight-week period, we tackled an ambitious AI project for the organization, using a combination of computer vision and machine learning techniques. For the first phase of the product, we developed a tool that captures text from a photograph of a product label and transcribes it automatically to the database. This task was very complicated because of the circular shape of the products, the small fonts and the colour contrast, were all challenging factors in the process. It supports 25 languages, and works efficiently with different image resolutions.

Mission accomplished

This project allowed us to break down requirements of a complex AI solution to prove hypotheses, delivering a quick return on investment to our client. Protégez-Vous! employees were able to start using the application from the third week of the development phase, so there was minimal delay in terms of collecting feedback about the usability of the application.

Instead of developing the entire product at once, we focused on early wins to secure the confidence of stakeholders. This helped us to quickly launch into the second phase of the contract, getting Protégez-Vous! significantly closer to their end goal within weeks instead of months.

We’re proud to have worked on a computer vision project that makes use of new technologies to support the mission Protégez-Vous! is so passionate about: one that’s all about informing, educating, and supporting consumers in making smart choices.

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Project details
AI Solutions for Protégez-Vous! in 2020
Technologies used
  • Microsoft Azure
  • AWS
  • Forest Admin
  • React
  • S3 bucket storage
  • SQL
  • Cognitive Services
  • OpenCV image processing library
  • NodeJS
  • Firebase