A new app promises to accurately calculate the calorific content of your food just by snapping a photo on your smartphone. SnapCalorie does exactly what it sounds like: it uses AI (naturally) and other algorithms to analyse what’s on your plate and the amount of energy it contains.
Not only can it figure out calories, but it also uses your phone’s depth sensor to advise you on the correct portion size. It could be very useful for anybody on a controlled diet to help them stay on track.
The app is a collaboration between Google Lens founder Wade Norris and Scott Baron, a systems engineer in the aerospace industry. Norris apparently wanted to positively impact people’s lives.
“Human beings are terrible at visually estimating the portion size of a plate of food,” Norris told TechCrunch. “SnapCalorie improves on the status quo by combining a variety of new technologies and algorithms.”
According to TechCrunch, the app was trained on 5000 different meals. It is reported to be 80% more accurate than other similar calorie-counting apps because of the use of depth sensors.
However, the development team couldn’t rely on simply sampling existing photos of food and having humans label them after the fact because of the large amount of human error in estimating portion size. So the team had to train the data set on thousands of carefully created and measured images of each different meal and type of food.
The app is quickly gaining popularity, with a thousand new downloads just this month. It is free from the Apple and Google Play stores, although a premium subscription of $29 a month exists to unlock more features.