The “See Food” App from Silicon Valley Actually Existed

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an app that can identify the nutritional content of your food? Well, good news! This kind of app does not only exist on the TV show, Silicon Valley; it also exists in real life. In fact, there are several versions of food recognition apps that are out in the market already. One of them is Meal Snap created by Daily Burn. This app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.

How Did It Work?

So, what was Meal Snap? Meal Snap was an app that allowed the users to take photos of food and it automatically identified as well as returned the calorie contents of food in real time. But how was it able to determine the food? Did it use artificial intelligence? No. The company used an army of people to identify the foods. The answer lies in a collective human effort.

Once the user took a photo of the food, it is then sent to the Mechanical Turk, which is an Amazon job market that pays workers a small fee to do certain tasks such as identifying pictures. The worker at Mechanical Turk identified the photos then the Daily Burn matched the description to the specific calorie content using a database for various types of foods. Since Daily Burn had to send the photo to a third-party vendor, it took a few minutes for the app to process the photo as well as present the necessary nutritional information.

 

The Benefits of the Meal Snap App

As an original app, it allowed you to determine the number of calories that you are eating. This is an excellent way to keep track of your food and also your calorie intake so that you can plan your weight loss strategies. Overall, it was a little before it’s time and more practical calorie counters worked better.

Another benefit of the app was that it allowed you to categorize photos as specific meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner), or snack. Moreover, it also let you keep a running total of your daily calorie intake. Although some critics mentioned that it does not provide 100% accuracy when it comes to the provided nutritional information, it gives you an estimate on how much you are consuming within the day.

The Future of Food Recognition Apps

According to CNET, if the speed and accuracy can be improved, the Meal Snap app could have been considered as one of the jaw-dropping and relevant apps in today’s tech world. The fact is that the technology relating to this app has yet to be perfected.

But what about the popularity of this app? Considering that most people are becoming conscious about what they eat, they would want to know how many calories they are eating or even the nutritional content of their foods. Other similar apps are bound to show up real soon.

Inspired by qz.com