In science fiction, the idea of a handheld analyzer that can report on details of an environment, creature, or substance have been around for decades. SCiO, a pocket spectrometer and molecular sensor that works with the cloud, is bringing those ideas to life. With a flexible development environment, SCiO ships with apps for scanning food, medicine, and plants, but more functions may arise over time. In terms of food scanning, the SCiO is reminiscent of what was promised by the TellSpec, though hopefully this project is more on the level, without the tricky editing and the production backpedaling. SCiO is available for $179 and will ship out by the end of the year.
As easy as people say it is to count calories and eat less junk food, combining those two goals can prove to be a bigger challenge. Boxed, frozen, canned, and fast food options have readily available nutritional data. But cooking at home, preparing meals out of fresher, healthier ingredients, how exactly does one figure out a serving size?
Extending the idea of a smart scale for humans, SITU is a smart food scale that can provide nutritional data for any bit of food. SITU weighs food and then transmits that information to an iPad. From there, users can track calorie intake, sugar, sodium, or any other ingredient. That information can be used and applied to analytics that will guide users through whatever their goal is: shedding pounds, adding weight, managing diabetes, and more. It’s an idea that others have tried already, including the eerily similar Smart Food Scale by Chef Sleeve, but SITU hopes that its complete nutritional data and ease of use will help it stand out.
While there’s plenty of cause to be skeptical about the scale’s accuracy, he campaign video shares the personal weight loss story of the inventor who used to count calories by hand and managed to lose 100 pounds, lending credence to the effectiveness of a smart scale like SITU. Backers who pledge £50 plus £12 for shipping outside the UK can get a SITU in November and start losing pounds in time for an easier New Year’s resolution.
The Premise. Part of what makes losing weight so difficult is that counting calories is an inexact science at best. Even with nutritional information, one has to monitor serving sizes and even cooking methods to know just how much calories are being consumed.
The Product. SmartFork and companion SmartSpoon want to do all the counting, and leave owners to simply do the eating. Pairing with an iPhone or Android via Bluetooth, the SmartFork takes into consideration the weight on the utensil and uses complex algorithms and sensors to determine the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content of the food and track caloric value. These utensils are save to eat with, easy to use and sync with weight loss websites, and are even dishwasher-safe.
The Pitch. Inventor Damir Wallener has been working on this concept for a while now, showing off multiple prototypes that started with more simple foods that only represented one of the three main detection groups (fat, protein, carbohydrates). The campaign video is short but sweet, explaining what the SmartFork or SmartSpoon can do, and why backers should donate. To put SmartForks to work making smart eating easier, $25,000 CAD is required to stabilize the manufacturing process of these smart yet simple tools.
The Perks. Bringing a SmartFork or SmartSpoon to the plate only takes a pledge of $99 CAD. Getting both takes $149 CAD, and at $199 CAD these utensils can be added to the prototype SmartBowl which works on similar principles. All products are expected to be delivered before the end of summer.
The Potential. SmartFork embraces some of the same concepts of the HAPIfork but actually determining the nutritional value of what it’s shoveling into your mouth is a tall order. It’s easy to be skeptical about how well these products work. If the tests show an orange slice, or a bit of chicken and calculate it, what about thick stews with lots of ingredients, or ice cream with toppings surrounded by the base flavor? Damir Wallener is confident in the impact of the SmartFork and SmartSpoon; ultimately, this kind of intelligence will be required to complement the wide range of exercise meters on the market.