Jan 21, 2016 | By Tess
Calorie counting and food tracking apps such as MyFitnessPal and LoseIt have helped personalize and revolutionize contemporary weight loss efforts as they allow people to keep track of and even better understand the food they are ingesting. The numbers from the apps, however, are often based on portion estimates, which make it difficult to know exactly how much you are actually eating, especially when you’re dining out. To make up for this discrepancy, a student based startup has developed the NutriRay3D, a smartphone accessory that 3D scans the food on your plate to accurately track your diet.
The startup, which was founded by Sep Makhsous, a Technology Management MBA student at the University of Washington and Dr. Alexander Mamishev, a professor of Electrical Engineering at UW, is currently undergoing a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help jumpstart the NutriRay3D’s production.
Designed with user-friendliness in mind, the NutriRay3D works by attaching a small 3D scanner accessory to your smartphone via its charging port, and holding it in front of your plate of food. From there, using laser technologies and image processing, the tool can accurately calculate the amount of food you will be ingesting and the caloric intake of that food and add it to your food log in the NutriRay3D app. The NutriRay3D comes in two models, iPhone lightning and Micro USB.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, there are a lot of cell phone applications our there but you still have to measure or somehow guesstimate how much you’re eating,” explains Makhsous. “[The NutriRay3D] creates a 3D map based on where the dots align, and then you can put them all together to get the actual volume of the food.”
At this stage, the NutriRay3D has been successfully prototyped and already functions with over 9,000 types of food, making nutritional estimates that have ranged between 87.5% and 91% accuracy. The startup’s next step, if their crowdfunding campaign goal of $50.000 is reached, is to introduce their technology to all types of mobile devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows.
The 3D scanner for your food follows the same logic as technologies that track your exercise and fitness routines. “Once you start measuring something it becomes different from simple observation,” explains Dr. Mamishev. “In the field of personal fitness for example once people start measuring how many steps, how many miles they walk around, it gives them important feedback and helps build new habits that are critical in achieving their personal goals.”
The NutriRay3D is marketed as being useful for anyone, from research scientists, to holding group studies, to nutritionists, to athletes, or simply to anyone who is interested in keeping track of their diets. At the moment, however, the product remains relatively expensive as a minimum pledge of $199 will get you your very own NutriRay3D. With the funds from the indiegogo campaign, the startup is hoping to begin to streamline the production process, with the goal of making the NutriRay 3D more affordable and accessible.
For more on the NutriRay3D and its 3D scanning food capabilities, check out the video below:
Posted in 3D Scanning
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