Google developing new technology that will count calories in your food pics

BY Killian Bell

Published 3 Jun 2015

Food picture

Google is developing new technology that will count the calories in the food photos you upload to Instagram. Dubbed “Im2Calories,” the tool aims to identify the food in a picture and work out its size to calculate its calorie content.

The technology uses “sophisticated deep-learning algorithms” to establish the size and shape of food based on the depth of pixels in your photos, Google researcher Kevin Murphy explained at the Rework Deep Learning Summit in Boston this week.

During a demonstration, Im2Calories was able to count two eggs, two pancakes, and three strips of bacon in one image and work out the size of each item to establish how many calories was in the meal.

The aim for Im2Calories isn’t to shame people into realizing that may be consuming too many calories, but to make it easier to document calorie intake in food diaries — so that you don’t have to record everything manually in an app.

“To me it’s obvious that people really want this and this is really useful,” Murphy said, Popular Science reports.. “OK fine, maybe we get the calories off by 20%. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to average over a week or a month or a year.”

Murphy added that even if Im2Calories only works 30% of the time, “it’s enough that people will start using it, we’ll collect data, and it’ll get better over time.”

For now, however, Im2Calories is still some way away from becoming a useful tool. Google says it is still developing the technology and researching the algorithms, so it’ll likely be some time before you’ll be able to download an Im2Calories app.

But assuming it will be available one day, would you use a calorie counter that used photos of your food to track what you’re eating?

[via The Guardian]