Calorie-Counting Device Serves Up Instant Info

GE biologists are exploring a new device to help dieters make better informed decisions. With the push of a button, eaters can discover how much energy is in the food they are about to eat

For the 100 million American dieters, keeping track of caloric intake can be a tedious, confusing, and downright difficult process.

Restaurants have attempted to ease the task, but menu listings are often misleading and portions remain over-sized. Cooking at home is a healthier dining option, but caloric information becomes even more ambiguous.

GE cell biologists and collaborators at Baylor University are in the process of developing a calorie counting device to get rid of this problem. The new device uses microwaves and scales to measure food, giving consumers a quick and easy way to see how much energy is in the food they are about to eat.

The Calorie Counter employs sensor technology to measure food’s weight, fat, and water content. Users would place a dome shaped device over their meal, and with a push of a button, its contents would be analyzed to produce an instant estimation of caloric content.

Users may be surprised to learn that their “healthy” green-leafed salad contains a whopping 50 grams of salad dressing fat. Common nutritional misconceptions will be cleared, and the device can help create healthier lifestyles for millions.

Inspiration for the device comes from the absence of an automatic calorie on the current market. Wearable activity monitors such as Fitbit use sensor technology to track daily movements and calories burned, but a calorie counting device would be the first of its kind.

As of now, the Calorie Counter is in an early prototype stage and can measure the caloric content of simple mixtures of oil, water and sugar. Out of the 40-50 tests that have been conducted, every result has been with 5-10% of the actual calorie count.

The device’s calorie counting potential may be integrated with other contemporary technologies in the future. The Calorie Counter may even be able to link up with an activity tracker and wireless scale to monitor daily calorie balance. The data could then be accessed via tablet or smartphone, guiding dieters throughout the day on all their consumption decisions.

High-tech appliances have the potential to impact society on more than just the household scale. The Calorie Counter makes nutritional tracking convenient and educates consumers on what they are eating. By starting in the household, the device creates a foundation of dietary knowledge that can be carried with consumers everywhere they choose to dine.

Sensor Technology // Fitbit

[h/t] NPR

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