“I ate a bowl of soup and a Caesar salad and an entire roast chicken and half a chocolate cake…”
Smartphone apps make counting calories easier, but usually not easy enough. Sometimes the food you're eating isn’t listed or the portion sizes aren’t detailed enough or it’s just plain too much trouble to type it all in. So you abandon your efforts to keep track of what you eat. Good news: Researchers at MIT and Tufts University are working on calorie-counting tech you can just talk to.
Just tell the app what you ate (and how much) and it will automatically calculate the caloric value. With a vocabulary of over 10,000 foods (from the USDA's nutritional database), you can be as specific as you want with the app. Of course, there’s also the option of manually inputting the information—just in case you don’t feel like publically declaring just how many servings of mac and cheese you ate for lunch.
Researchers are currently showing off the software at a speech recognition conference in Shanghai, but the app is still in its nascent phase. Developers are hoping to start testing it with real-world users soon.