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Brief Published: 18 Jul 2014

Calorie-Counting Tech Tools

Smart brands are developing sophisticated digital dieting tools that allow users to track their food and drink intake.

  • Scientists at New York-based General Electric Global Research have developed a device that uses microwaves to identify the calorie content of food. The prototype, currently only compatible with blended foods, works by scanning the fat, water and weight of foods, and then uses an equation to make an estimate of the calorie content. The team plans to develop a user-friendly version of the device that could easily fit over a plate of food or be incorporated into domestic appliances, and could be marketed at weight-conscious consumers.
  • A group of Portuguese software developers have created Wellscale, a portable smart scale that allows users to track their food on the go. The compact scale is fitted with a Bluetooth 4.0 chip, meaning it is easily connected to a smartphone. Users can place food on the scale and enter its type into the app, which will display the nutritional make-up of what they're eating. The company is currently raising money on crowdfunding website Indiegogo.
  • San Francisco design studio Fuseproject has developed Vessyl, a smart cup that uses a molecular sensor to identify any liquid poured into it, displaying the type of drink and calorie content on the product's display. Syncing with a user's smartphone, the electronic cup can also track the calorie, caffeine and sugar content in drinks. Fuseproject-designed tracking device Jawbone also recently launched a free app that allows users to track their caffeine intake. Read more about Fuseproject in our interview with founder Yves Behar.

For more on the emergence of tech-enhanced dieting tools, as well as wider developments in the dieting industry, see Next-Gen Dieting. For further insight into self-quantification and food, take a look at Intelligent Food.