With obesity rates reaching scary levels, we really need a better way to let people know just how much food they are about to eat. There have been a few photo-based calorie counting apps like Meal Snap for a while, but this new development from SRI Ventures aims to make that process much more accurate.
The new app is being developed under the code name Project Ceres and will attempt to correct some of the weaknesses in earlier similar apps. Using a large database of recognized food products, the app will be able to see not only that you're about to chow down on a burger, but can tell when it's a Burger King Double Whopper with cheese. Portion size has always been a tough job when photo analyzing food, so the SRI app will let you upload multiple pictures so it can get a better view of your plate. It even learns your habits and can recognize locations, so it will know when you're stopping off at Ben & Jerry's for a triple scoop sundae.
Norman Winarski From SRI admits that the system will never be foolproof, and it can't tell when you've hidden a mound of bacon bits under that healthy looking green spinach at the salad bar, but it can give you a range of calories that can hopefully convince you to back off before you overindulge.
SRI Ventures is the company that developed the Siri personal assistant software before Apple bought it from them, so they're not exactly newbies when it comes to creating apps that can reason intelligently. At this point they're not sure when the technology will appear in a form we can all use, but SRI says they hope it is within a year. In the meantime, I'll try to stick to my New Year's resolution to cut back on bacon. Mmm, bacon.