University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) professors in engineering and nursing have created a device that merges current fitness assessment functions with camera and scanning technology that allows users to photograph their food and find out its nutritional content, including the caloric value, based on the type of food, portion sizes and fat content.
The invention — set to enter the commercial development stage soon — represents the next step in making health management effortlessly quick and non-intrusive for everyone from diabetic patients to athletes or anyone interested in monitoring their fitness regimen, researchers said.
“The missing piece within the fitness tracking space is nutrition monitoring,” said Jason Pottinger, director of business strategy at MealCheck Technologies, Inc., the startup that, per a recently signed licensing agreement, will commercially develop, manufacture and sell UNLV’s device.
MealCheck — an offshoot of Academic Technology Ventures, Inc., which specializes in sponsoring and commercializing academic research — was founded specifically to bring this invention to market.
The device is the brainchild of UNLV’s Jillian Inouye, professor and associate dean for research in the Schools of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences; Mohamed B. Trabia, mechanical engineering professor and associate dean for research, graduate studies and computing in the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering; and Venkatesan Muthukumar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.
“This technology highlights the impactful nature of interdisciplinary research taking place at UNLV,” said Tom Piechota, UNLV’s vice president for research and economic development. “What our researchers achieve together on campus today can end up in the hands of consumers tomorrow.”