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Calorie counting tech – good or bad?
For better or worse, calorie counting is back on the agenda. Thanks to the deluge of new wearable devices in development or already available, just about every fitness statistic you can think of is about to fall under scrutiny. This should be a good thing, right?
Well, sometimes in the rush to advance technology we make mistakes. The new wave of wearable tech has been making headlines for good reason, but not every idea is coated in solid gold – even if the eyes of their inventors were lit by dollar symbols. As noted by The Verge, even Weight Watchers now agree that calorie counting may not be the most helpful solution for America’s 100 million dieters, despite their push towards it in the late 90s.
Despite this scientific progress, technology appears to be reverting back to the old thinking in its recent apps and devices. Of course, keeping an eye on your calorie intake can’t be a bad thing, but before you go out spending your money on the latest fitness fad, consider how useful it really is. Here, we cast our eyes over the latest high-tech calorie counters to hit the web.
First up is Vessyl, the calorie counting cup that knows your drink – and what’s inside it. The concept is simple, just pour your beverage into your Vessyl and the cup will tell you what you’re drinking and the associated calorie count. It will also keep track of your intake throughout the day and, perhaps most importantly, make sure you stay hydrated. All the information collected by the cup will be beamed straight to your smartphone, so you can track live statistics on-the-go.
Status: Vessyl is available for the pre-order price of $99, after which it will rise to $199. Shipping begins early 2015
Verdict: Hmm, Vessyl is more clever than actual useful. It may be able to tell you what you’re drinking, but do you need a cup to tell you that?
2) SCiO: A pocket molecular sensor
Successfully funded via Kickstarter last month, SCiO asked for $200,000 and managed to raise $2,762,571. The device is essentially a molecular sensor that fits inside your pocket, capable of scanning food, medicine and plants and sending relevant information to your smartphone.
Status: The device smashed it’s fundraising goal and is due to ship in late 2014.
Verdict: SCiO seems legit, and even calorie counting sceptic James Robinson admitted the product’s technology was impressive. But at $299 to buy, getting the product to the mainstream may prove difficult.
3) GE’s Calorie Counter
The Calorie Counter from GE uses sensor technology to measure the weight, fat and water content of your home cooking. Sounds great in theory, right? Except the food has to be pureed for it to work. Oh…
Status: The product is still in development, with just a primitive prototype available.
Verdict: A nice idea – but unless you fancy living off of various soups and broths, it cold still use a little work.
4) Healbe GoBe
Despite raising more than $1,000,000 through fundraising site Indiegogo, Healbe GoBe has come under widespread criticism for misleading its backers. The product claims to be the first wearable device capable of accurately measuring the calories you consume and burn ‘through your skin’. It’s said to focus on glucose concentration in the blood, but by the company’s own admission the wristband ‘doesn’t meed meet medical accuracy requirements‘.
Status: Project funded and shipping to begin next month – following delays.
Verdict: Described as a ‘scampaign’ by Pando Daily, this is one calorie counting device to stay well clear of.
5) Meal Snap
Calorie counting hasn’t just infiltrated wearable devices, but apps too. With Meal Snap you can submit a picture of your food and receive an estimation of how many calories it contains by ‘pure magic’. In actual fact, photos are manually analysed – and with pretty decent accuracy too.
Status: Available now for $2.99.
Verdict: It’s not perfect, but at such a small cost it’s a decent way of learning more about what’s on your plate.