Google Inc may just prove to be more efficient than any Weight Watchers group you ever joined. The industry giant has set out to develop an app that counts the calories hidden in the meals you post on your Instagram page, all in the name of helping you keep your weight in check.
Dubbed “Im2Calories” the program will not just be an app, but an AI (artificial intelligence). Fittingly, Kevin P Murphy, Google researcher and lead developer on the program, first made the project public at the Rework Deep Learning Summit, last week.
Im2Calories uses highly sophisticated deep learning algorithms in order to analyze and determine each pixel that makes up a photo, while also looking for any patterns it may recognize. On the surface, the AI will look like it’s examining a still photo of food, identifying the meal in it and calculating how many calories it contains.
Murphy informed that the app will work just fine with lower quality photos such as those taken with a smartphone and posted on Instagram.
In a demonstration, the app analyzed an image of food and correctly concluded that it shows two (2) eggs, two (2) pancakes and three (3) strips of bacon. It compared the items on the plate to the size of the plate and had no problem calculation the size of each individual item.
Murphy gave a statement explaining that “To me, it’s obvious that people really want this and this is really useful. OK, fine. Maybe we get the calories off by 20%. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to average over a week or a month or a year”.
He is excited that once the app makes on the market, researchers will be able to start to potentially merge information from multiple people and begin to do population level statistics.
While he admitted that the app may not get the calorie count 100 percent (100%) right in the first few tries, he also said that the more people use the app and share its results on the internet, the more accurate it will become.
He informed that currently the app only works perfectly 30 percent (30%) of the time, but that that is good enough for people to start using it. Once that happens the app will keep collecting data, learning from said data and begin to improve.
If the app confuses one edible item with another, users will have the option of correcting it and helping it lean from its mistakes.
Kevin P Murphy has a few different hopes for the app. One is that it will make it easier for people struggling to weigh or health issues to keep a food diary and help them gain better control over their diet.
The other is that the technology will evolve so that it could be used to examine traffic patterns and help drivers find a parking spot.
The release date of the app is unknown as of yet. In fact there’s even a chance that it may never hit the market. Jason Freidenfelds, Google spokesman, gave a statement saying that Im2Calories and the algorithms it runs on are still in the research faze and that there are currently no plans to launch the product.
Image Source: finedininglovers.com