Some apps tell you where to eat.
Others tell you how to burn off the calories you’ve eaten.
But only “Miles Per Hamburger” tells you exactly which restaurant you have to run to, to get rid of the last meal you ingested.
The app is the brainchild of recent Staples graduate Michael Menz, and rising senior Mrinal Kumar.
The teenagers have been friends since playing on the same summer tennis team during middle school. At Staples they were math team co-captains, and teammates for the Spectacular Student Challenge, Moody’s Mega Math Challenge and Science Bowl. They’ve also competed in national math competitions.
“Miles Per Hamburger” is actually the 2nd app for their partnership (Kumenz Software Solutions, an actual LLC). The first — iFunction — allows users to create and use their own mathematical functions for everyday life.
The calorie-counting app has much, um, wider appeal.
Users scroll through over 2400 foods at 20 chains (including Westport standbys 5 Guys, Arby’s and McDonald’s). They click on their latest meal — 20 Piece Chicken McNuggets, Egg McMuffin and Apple n Spice Donut, say — and get the frightening result (1510 calories). The app immediately geo-locates another restaurant you can run to, to burn off those 1510 calories.
With a handy map.
The idea came because Michael and Mrinal wanted to combine commercial possibilities with good health. They realized that visual representations, in units people can understand (like miles) resonate far more with users than simply presenting the number of calories in a meal.
When the pair tested the limits of the app by piling on the most calorie-rich meal they could conceive — 5 Guys fries, Big Macs, Whoppers — they were initially directed to a small restaurant in Southern California “1 mile away.” That’s when they realized their coding needed work.
So they devised an algorithm that enabled Apple’s map to perform a series of searches, each modified by the ones before it. Otherwise, Apple’s map would simply prioritize the nearest location. In densely populated areas, that’s no good when you’ve got 1510 calories to work off.
Michael and Mrinal field tested the app extensively (hopefully theoretically — without actually ingesting, say, 1510 calories).
The app was accepted by Apple on its 1st submission — no easy feat. It shot into the Top 1000 in the App Store in several countries shortly after release. Feedback (“feed” back?) has been very positive.
In a few weeks, Michael heads off to his 1st year at Yale, studying math and computer science. Mrinal enters his final year at Staples.
Meanwhile, Kumenz LLP has more apps in the works. One is a pickup basketball shot clock.
Another will give users a comprehensive data analysis of their driving, utilizing their iPhone’s GPS. It will be the duo’s 1st app that is not free.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, we know. But — thanks to the free “Miles Per Hamburger” app — those who buy a fast-food lunch now know how far they have to run to pay for it.