Now that we’re entered the back half of January, we’re coming to the point where many New Year’s resolutions have entered the backs of our minds. A common one—usually motivated by the excess weight put on during the holidays—is to eat healthier. And if you’re like me, one whiff of a fast-food burger in passing can topple the whole endeavor.
One way people are attempting to form a healthy diet is using technology that tracks caloric intake. These can be misleading because of how susceptible they are to human error—you have to be absolutely precise in entering serving size, taking the time to measure out exact portions. I’m sure anyone strictly adhering to measuring portion sizes will get an accurate count, but the rest of us need some kind of help.
NutriRay3D, a smartphone peripheral device currently being funded on indiegogo, claims to track diet by scanning meals and supplying an outline of nutritional facts. NutriRay3D alleges that their laser technology “obtains a scan of any food item, and with the help of image processing, is able to accurately calculate the volume and calorie intake.” Based on this, should you eat the entire meal, you’ll have an accurate report of how many calories to count.
The prototype is reported to be finished and fully functional, with successful testing and completed engineering validation testing. NutriRay3D hopes to make their technology accessible to all mobile devices, including Windows, Android, and iOS. The company also intends to create an automated calibration system and optimize the application software.
I’m not sure how a laser scanner will eliminate all inaccuracies, though. It makes sense for volume calculation—the laser 3D scans the amount of food and provides the amount. Laser scanning technology isn’t inaccurate in that way.
But how exactly does this laser know the exact composition of the food it’s scanning? If you’re eating, say, a chicken Caesar salad, would the laser be smart enough to know which is chicken and which is salad? (And what about the most important part, the cheese?) Or, if you’re eating dessert with whipped cream on top, how will it know where the whipped cream dividing line lies?
NutriRay3D hasn’t mentioned that facet yet; we’ll see how accurate the laser is when it hits the market. Until then, I’m going to try and fight off my sudden craving for Burger King.