Don’t eat that! SRI built a calorie-counting food app that works via a photo snap


The wonks over at SRI, the lab responsible for technology behind Apple’s Siri, have come up with a pretty sweet way to apply image recognition to food. Dror Oren, executive director at SRI Ventures, says SRI has built a method that could let users snap a photo (or several) of their plates to get an approximate calorie count. Users of Meal Snap, which uses a camera and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service to count calories, will find the idea familiar. (There’s also this futuristic device that uses laser spectroscopy to measure what’s in your food.)

Instead of apportioning the job out to Mechanical Turk or lasers, however, SRI’s project, internally dubbed Ceres, lets computers do the work of estimating calorie count. To do this, the SRI folk had to solve two problems. The first was an image recognition problem — namely, figuring out what’s on your plate. The second was…

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