At CEATEC 2017 in Japan, Panasonic has shown off a prototype machine it calls CaloRieco (“Calorie co”). The machine looks like a cross between a 3D printer and a microwave, but it is neither — it is a machine that intelligently evaluates food and determines approximately how many calories it contains.
This isn’t the first calorie-counting technology we’ve seen, but it is one of the most simplistic implementations thus far. Rather than having to weigh food, add up the calories, and then record them in an app or notebook, CaloRieco figures out how many calories are on a plate of food and then presents them on a display alongside a nutritional breakdown.
The machine works in a straight-forward manner — users put the food on a plate, put the plate within the machine, then close it. The system analyzes the food, then presents the results on a screen. In addition to the calorie count, the machine shows the percentage of protein, fat and carbs in the meal. The results are also logged so that past data can be retrieved.
The machine is connected to a WiFi network and uploads data to the cloud, where it can then be retrieved via a companion mobile app. Overall, it takes about ten seconds to get results, according to Panasonic. The company doesn’t go into details about the technology behind the actual food evaluation, though.
CaloRieco would be useful for average consumers who are keeping an eye on their caloric intake, but could have uses in other environments, too, such as a nursing home that needs a fast way to keep track of the approximate nutrients that residents are receiving. The technology’s accuracy is another matter, though. Calories can vary wildly based on things that aren’t easily determined, such as how much oil was used to bake a particular piece of bread or how much sugar is in any given sauce.